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Trayce Jackson-Davis is staying at IU. How missing the draft combine impacted his decision.
After testing positive for COVID-19 last week, the IU forward did not travel to Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine.
CHICAGO — Trayce Jackson-Davis isn’t where we expected him to be.
After training in Los Angeles, Indiana’s 2019 Mr. Basketball was one of 76 players invited to the NBA Draft Combine. That would have put him in front of executives from all 30 teams and lead to beneficial feedback that could help inform his decision.
Jackson-Davis tested positive for COVID-19 and is not at the combine. He was scheduled for an interview session with the media on Thursday, but was not listed on any of the four rosters for the two scrimmages.
He has made his decision and will return to Bloomington for another season, he announced Friday morning.
Already, Jackson-Davis appeared to be on the fences. Not getting to test, go through physical drills, interview with teams and play in the scrimmages is costly in his situation.
He was likely going to declare for the draft and go through pre-draft workouts for teams in 2020, after his freshman season, but it was negatively impacted by COVID-19. He did not even flirt with the draft last spring, when Mike Woodson returned to his alma mater and become head coach.
Jackson-Davis spoke with Woodson about his future on a Zoom call Thursday afternoon, per league sources.
All along, I felt Jackson-Davis could help himself most at pre-draft workouts. There’s a lot of one-on-one time with teams and various staff members. They see how a player shoots and completes drills, then most finish up with 3-on-3 work.
That’s where Jackson-Davis could shine. In speaking with three different teams on Thursday, they were unsure if he would travel around for workouts after having COVID-19 and missing some training. The expectation was that he would return to school.
June 1 is a key date for underclassmen because it’s the deadline for players to withdraw their name from the NBA Draft and return to school.
Name, image and likeness (NIL) may have played a factor as well, as Jackson-Davis has multiple deals in place.
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Now 22 years old and a redshirt junior, Jackson-Davis has two years of eligibility remaining. He averaged 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game last season, starting in all 35 games. Being available and being a contributing factor in every game matters.
NBA teams also see a 6-foot-9 forward who didn't shoot often away from the basket. That was not how he was utilized. He attempted three 3-pointers last season after none in his first two seasons, but he didn't make one.
Jackson-Davis, voted Second Team All-Big Ten, was at his best to finish last season, averaging 23.4 points and 7.8 rebounds over the final five games – in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.
Returning to IU, Woodson and staff should utilize Jackson-Davis in different ways and allow for him to expand his game. All while trying to help the Hoosiers improve on their 21-14 record and ninth-place finish in the Big Ten this past season.