Trayce Jackson-Davis boldly claimed he believes in Mike Woodson as the sophomore forward announce that he will return to Indiana for his junior year. Virtually everyone believed Jackson-Davis would be heading to the professional ranks but he has decided to stay in Bloomington and work on his game. It was an enormous early recruiting win for Woodson as he tries to establish his program.
A first-team All-Big Ten selection and a third-team All-American, Jackson-Davis was consistently stellar as a sophomore. He averaged 19.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 34.3 minutes per game. While he was excellent, there were holes in his game that must be filled before hitting the next level.
As a 6-foot-9 forward, Jackson-Davis will need to discover a jump shot if he wants to play in the NBA. He mostly played as a back-to-the-basket big man, which won't be possible at the next level. He hasn't so much as attempted a 3-pointer in his college career. Additionally, he needs to improve from the free throw line (65.5 percent) and become more efficient from inside the arc, as he hit just 51.7 percent of his field goals.
Jackson-Davis has to believe the offense will flow better under Woodson. Finding offensive continuity and consistently was a real issue under Archie Miller. If Indiana can find shooters to surround their All-American big man, his game should improve by default. During both his collegiate seasons, opponents have completely collapsed around him defensively as the Hoosiers couldn't consistently knock down shots from the perimeter.
The lack of consistent shooting was a big reason why Indiana fell apart late this season, losing its final six games and finishing 12-15. Miller was fired as a result of that collapse. In his introductory press conference, Woodson emphasized how important shooting was to modern basketball, giving clear hints that he wants a team that can knock down 3-pointers.
For two years all we've heard is that Jackson-Davis wanted to be part of the team that turned Indiana basketball around. He seems to believe Woodson can be the man to lead that charge. By deciding to return, Jackson-Davis as given the new coach's effort a major boost.