BLOOMINGTON — Trayce Jackson-Davis will return for a fourth season at IU, giving Mike Woodson the biggest boost of his offseason and inserting the Hoosiers into the Big Ten title conversation for 2023.
He shared the news via social media with a one-minute video that ended with the words “I’m back”.
“The opportunity I had to work on my game for the professional level was something invaluable as I continue to grow as a basketball player,” Jackson-Davis said in a press release distributed Friday after- noon. “However, I look forward to returning to Indiana to be with my coaches and teammates and build on what we’ve accomplished at the end of the season. There are goals I have for our team. and for me individually in the field, but at the end of next year, more importantly, I will be proud to say that I have graduated from IU.
Jackson-Davis had previously declared for the draft while maintaining his eligibility. It was the Center Grove alum’s first trip through the pre-draft process, after choosing not to declare in the previous two offseasons.
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Despite receiving an invitation to the NBA combine, Jackson-Davis was unable to participate after testing positive for COVID-19. Most fake projects and projections saw him somewhere between a second-round pick and an undrafted free agent.
Instead, Jackson-Davis opted to return to school for a fourth season. He could threaten many IU records this winter and looks likely to land at least among the top five players in program history in several categories, including career rebounds, blocks and points. Jackson-Davis is already the program’s all-time leader in offensive rebounds. Basically, his decision to return to school means Woodson’s roster is officially complete for 2022-23.
The Hoosiers will welcome a four-man freshman class to campus this summer, and they’ll also bring back Jackson-Davis frontcourt mate Race Thompson. Thompson opted to take a sixth year of eligibility through the COVID waiver. This will be his last college season.
Indiana had kept the Jackson-Davis purse open, and with the May 1 deadline for immediate transfer eligibility now past, it looks like Woodson has relative security knowing what his roster will look like next winter. .
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He looks like a Big Ten contender.
The Hoosiers were flawed in 2021-22 and still need improvement in some key areas, including 3-point shooting leading to greater offensive efficiency. But the Hoosiers also finished last season with the most effective conference defense in the Big Ten. They will welcome back four members from their five regular starters and add several impact rookies, including five-star all-around guard Jalen Hood-Schifino.
Malik Reneau, another of those 2022 signers and Hood-Schifino’s high school teammate, will add depth behind Thompson and Jackson-Davis in the post. And, despite its tired ending, the Hoosiers ended last season playing their best basketball starting in mid-February.
In a Big Ten currently lacking a favorite, Woodson’s side should have enough quality and experience to make their case as a potential champion.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.