The Journal Gazette
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:10 pm

Trayce Jackson-Davis returns to Indiana

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

"I'm back."

Those are the words that flashed on the screen at the end of the video Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis posted on Twitter announcing his decision to return to the Hoosiers for the 2022-23 season.

Jackson-Davis will be a senior in the fall after averaging 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting nearly 59% from the field for Indiana last season and leading the Hoosiers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2016.

Jackson-Davis had entered his name in the NBA Draft process while maintaining his collegiate eligibility. He had said he would likely return if it appeared he would be drafted later than the 35th pick.

The 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball was supposed to participate in the NBA Combine this week in Chicago in the hopes of raising his draft stock, but he tested positive for COVID-19 last week and was unable to participate in the five-on-five scrimmages at the event or meet individually with NBA scouts and general managers.

He had until June 1 to make a final decision on whether he would return and could have worked out for NBA teams privately, but apparently decided to forgo that option.

Jackson-Davis is already among the all-time leaders at Indiana in several major categories after only three years on campus. The 2020 All-American is 15th in program history in points, ninth in rebounds and seventh in blocked shots. He will have a chance to move into the top five in all three next year.

The Greenwood native's return is the last piece of the puzzle for Indiana's roster, which now has a full complement of 13 scholarships. The Hoosiers bring in one of the nation's best recruiting classes in the fall and return every key contributor except guards Parker Stewart and Rob Phinisee from a team that went 21-14 last season.

Indiana will likely be ranked in the top 25 in preseason polls and is likely to be among the favorites in the Big Ten in coach Mike Woodson's second season.

Earlier this week, Woodson spoke in Fort Wayne at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Gourmet Dinner and made it clear he was hoping Jackson-Davis would choose to return. He had planned to meet the forward in Chicago this week and speak with him about the future.

"“The big question now is, 'Is Trayce Jackson-Davis going to come back?'” Woodson said. “I'm hoping like hell he comes back because he's a big piece to the puzzle."

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