BLOOMINGTON – Trayce Jackson-Davis will return for a fourth season at IU, handing 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 minute-long highlight video that concluded with the words, "I'm back."
“The opportunity I had to work on my game for the professional level was something that was invaluable as I continue my growth as a basketball player,” Jackson-Davis said in a news release distributed Friday afternoon. “However, I am looking forward to returning to Indiana to be with my coaches and teammates and building off of what we accomplished at the end of the season. There are goals I have for our team and for myself individually on the court, but at the end of next year more importantly, I will be proud to say I am a graduate of IU.”
Jackson-Davis had previously declared for the draft while retaining his eligibility. It was the Center Grove alum’s first trip through the pre-draft process, after he elected not to declare in either of the previous two offseasons.
Though he received an invitation to the NBA combine, Jackson-Davis was unable to participate after testing positive for COVID-19. Most mock drafts and projections saw him somewhere between a second-round pick and an undrafted free agent.
Instead, Jackson-Davis elected to return to school for a fourth season. He could threaten numerous IU records this winter, and appears likely to at least land among the top-five players in program history in multiple categories, including career rebounds, blocks and points. Jackson-Davis is already the program's all-time leader in offensive rebounds.Crucially, his decision to return to school means Woodson’s roster is officially full for 2022-23.
The Hoosiers will welcome a four-man freshman class to campus this summer, and they’ll also bring back Race Thompson, Jackson-Davis’ frontcourt mate. Thompson elected to take a sixth year of eligibility thanks to the COVID waiver. This will be his last college season.
Indiana had been holding Jackson-Davis' scholarship open, and with the May 1 deadline for immediate transfer eligibility now passed, it appears Woodson has relative security in knowing what his lineup will look like next winter.
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It looks like a Big Ten contender.
The Hoosiers were imperfect in 2021-22 and still need improvement in some key areas, most notably 3-point shooting leading to greater offensive efficiency. But the Hoosiers also ended last season with the most-efficient defense in conference play in the Big Ten. They will welcome back four members of their regular starting five and add multiple impact recruits, including versatile five-star guard Jalen Hood-Schifino.
Malik Reneau, another of those 2022 signees and Hood-Schifino's high school teammate, will add depth behind Thompson and Jackson-Davis in the post. And, its tired ending notwithstanding, the Hoosiers finished last season playing their best basketball from mid-February on.
In a Big Ten currently lacking a clear frontrunner, Woodson's team should have enough quality and experience to make its case as a potential champion.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: NBA Draft 2022: Trayce Jackson-Davis will return to Indiana basketball