Only a few days after Indiana basketball fell to its lowest point of the season with a 90-69 road loss to No. 3 Duke, momentum picked back up. On Friday afternoon five-star forward, Trayce Jackson-Davis, announced his commitment to IU.
It was a gigantic recruiting victory for Archie Miller and the entire program. Once again, Miller landed a top in-state talent. Jackson-Davis picked the Hoosiers over finalists of Michigan State and UCLA, as well as a multitude of other high-major offers.
The effort paid off for Indiana’s coaching staff and Miller was happy to see they locked up the state’s top prize for 2019.
“We worked tirelessly, our staff did with them,” Miller said of Jackson-Davis’ family. “To be able to get that caliber of player, obviously from the state, is huge.”
Jackson-Davis’ relationship with the coaching staff and the appeal of playing for his home state values made the difference in his decision.
“I think Coach Miller and Coach Ostrom, they did a really good job of recruiting me,” Jackson-Davis said. “They were first to everything and then there’s no better place to play than your backyard.”
Jackson-Davis isn’t only a top talent within the state, but rather, a top talent in the country. The 24/7 Sports Composite rankings lists him as the No. 16 overall ranked player in the 2019 class and the No. 2 player in the state of Indiana.
Coach Miller had high praise for Jackson-Davis and backed up the prospect’s high ranking and status.
“He’s a terrific talent, he’s a great kid, he’s got a lot of upside coming to him,” Miller said. “He’s got size, athleticism, length, got great hands.”
Jackson-Davis measures in at 6-foot-9 and 232 pounds and has a great build and upper body strength to play in the post.
Being the son of former Indiana Pacer, Dale Davis, Jackson-Davis was given the genes to be an athletic freak with major upside. The young star has made tremendous strides in his ability over the past couple years and didn’t make it on to the national radar until a breakout junior season.
While being dominant around the post, Jackson-Davis’ game is not limited to that. The Greenwood native runs the floor well, allowing him to finish in transition. He also has a solid mid-range jumper.
Add those offensive skills to his 7-foot wingspan, which allows him to grab rebounds with ease and be a great rim protector, and you have a player that is a legitimate, modern day big man.
His three-point shot is still developing, along with his perimeter and man-to-man defense, but those skills should come in time and the five-star forward realizes that too.
“I’m just trying to play hard every possession,” Jackson-Davis said. “I’m a little lazy on defense so I just got to tune that up. I’m working on my shot a little bit, but I know when I get there, (the coaching staff) is going to start working on that, so I’m just trying to do little things like ballhandling and stuff like that.”
With the commitment of Jackson-Davis, Miller has reaffirmed his promise of recruiting the state inside and out. In Miller’s tenure as coach, he has received a total of eight commitments with five being Indiana kids.
Jackson-Davis joins Armaan Franklin as the second commit of the 2019 recruiting class. Franklin committed in September and is rated as a 3-star guard, ranked right outside the top 150 (24/7 Sports Composite). Jackson-Davis is very high on Franklin’s skillset.
“Armaan is a really unselfish player, but he can get his when he needs to,” Jackson-Davis said. He can do a lot of things, he does the little things great: he takes charges, he can score, and he can shoot the ball really well. I think it would be great to play with him.”
Hoosier nation got a glimpse of the future when the two faced off on Friday, the day of Jackson-Davis’ commitment. Center Grove and Jackson-Davis beat Franklin and Cathedral 63-60.
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) November 5, 2018
On Saturday, Jackson-Davis played in his future home against Bloomington North where he dropped 34 points along with 12 rebounds, two blocks, and three assists and three steals. With more than just his stat-line, Jackson-Davis showed what he could do for Indiana basketball.
The game started out frustrating for the forward prospect as he missed a number of free throws and his fourth ranked trojan team struggled with a Bloomington North team that had won a total of six games all last season.
Center Grove ended up winning 71-64 and did so by way of Jackson-Davis’ taking over in the fourth quarter, where he had 14 of his 34 points.
It was a game where Jackson-Davis quietly dominated through timely post finishes and great rim protection. Similar to current Hoosier, Romeo Langford, the Center Grove standout has a quiet demeanor to him and doesn’t show much attention even when playing his best.
Next season, Indiana will be losing a lot of talent, senior and team captain Juwan Morgan specifically. The 6-foot-8 forward does it all for Indiana, he can play inside and out offensively, while also playing bigger than his size at the five-spot on the court.
The coaching staff envisions Jackson-Davis serving a similar role to Morgan in the Hoosiers offense.
“Just seeing how Juwan played, it impacted my decision a little bit,” Jackson-Davis said. “(The coaching staff) say they want me to play like Juwan. Watching Juwan play really helped me because they said that’s the type of player, they want me to be.”
In general, Indiana lacks many post players. Evan Fitzner, who’s 6-foot-10, will be gone next season as well. Plus, 6-foot-10 De’Ron Davis will be in his senior season. Jackson-Davis will fill a gaping hole in the roster and was far more needed than people realize.
Moving forward on the recruiting trail, the focus completely shifts to Keion Brooks Jr. The five-star small forward prospect out of La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana. Brooks Jr. had transferred to the prep school for his senior season after playing three years for Fort Wayne North High School.
Brooks Jr. is a 6-foot-7, athletic forward who is listed as the No. 22 ranked player in the 2019 class (24/7 Sports Composite). The five-star is seemingly the last legitimate target for the Hoosiers as they are currently far out of the picture for fellow five-stars Trendon Watford, Matthew Hurt, and Isaiah Stewart, despite being listed in their final lists.
The Hoosiers will at least lose two scholarship players for next season in Fitzner and Morgan. There could very well be a third open scholarship too due to a probable Langford departure to the NBA
Brooks Jr. would complete the class well as the third commit and fill the scholarship cap, while making the class comprise of all in-state recruits.
Jackson-Davis and Brooks Jr. have history together too. The five-star duo were AAU teammates for the Spiece Indy Heat on the Nike EYBL Circuit this past season. The two complement each other well and have great chemistry.
Jackson-Davis and Franklin will be working hard to make sure Brooks Jr. is a Hoosier.
“We’re going to try to talk to him every day,” Jackson-Davis said. “We’re just going to tell him how great it is and how much we need him. Not just want him, but we need him too because he can make a difference.”