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‘I trusted the process’: Trayce Jackson-Davis reaping the benefits of final year at Indiana



May 15, 2023; Chicago, Il, USA; Trayce Davis-Jackson participates in the 2023 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena. (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)

Staying four years at Indiana wasn’t the original plan for Trayce Jackson-Davis. But, it was the best plan for the All-American forward who is now a potential fringe first round draft pick in next month’s NBA Draft.

‘Trusted the process’. Those were the words of Trayce Jackson-Davis at the NBA Combine this week. Words that allowed the 6-foot-9 forward to test extremely well in all of his measurements.

“It was the Lord’s plan, honestly,” Jackson-Davis told Andy Katz at the Combine. “Being with coach Woodson and talking to him and having him in my corner, it was a great experience. I trusted the process and I’ve benefited from it.”

This season, Trayce Jackson-Davis averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.9 blocks per game. He was a consensus First-Team All-American and unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten selection. He was also the Karl Malone Award winner for the top power forward in the country.

Jackson-Davis finished his Indiana career as the program’s all-time leader in rebounds (1,143) and blocked shots (270) and was third in scoring (2,258) and double-doubles (50).

After testing positive for Covid last year during NBA Combine week, returning to Indiana was the only option. He led Indiana back to the NCAA Tournament and cemented himself as one of the best players in Indiana basketball program history.

He got that way by understanding his game and skillset. That’s something he has been focused on this week and what he will remain focused on moving forward.

“Just doing what I do well and doing what I do at a high level,” Jackson-Davis added to Katz.

The one skillset that Jackson-Davis didn’t do in college was shoot the ball. In his four years, he attempted three 3s. He was 0-of-3. His 15-foot jumper was more of an afterthought as well.

“I just listened to what coach Woodson said,” Jackson-Davis told reporters at the combine. “He never said that I couldn’t shoot, but when I’m close to the rim and I’m shooting 60 to 70 percent from the floor every game, there’s not really a reason for me to go outside and take shots … I thought the team would benefit with me more being inside. It’s not that I couldn’t shoot. It’s more that I didn’t shoot.”

So, the big question was whether or not he would be able to stretch the floor and show some sort of ability to shoot the ball. He responded with reportedly making 12-of-25 3s in a three-point shooting drill earlier this week.

“Obviously, teams want to see me shoot the ball,” Jackson-Davis told Katz. “So going out there and shooting the ball when I have the opportunity to not doing too much but playing the basketball the way I know how.”

Jackson-Davis met with the New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors at the Combine. He also has 15 workouts scheduled after the Combine, per reports.

So, after a successful week in Chicago, there is little doubt or questions that he has the ability to stay in the league for a long time.

SEE ALSO: NBA Combine measurements for Jalen Hood-Schifino, Trayce Jackson-Davis

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.