Jackson-Davis eager to stay in-state with Hoosiers

CENTER GROVE — It all kept adding up for Trayce Jackson-Davis.

The phone calls, the visits to Center Grove, the AAU trips across the country. Wherever he played — wherever he went — Indiana coaches were there.

The loyalty didn’t go unnoticed.

“When I see them coming to everything, every first event, over time you’re finally like, ‘They’re dedicated. They want you,'” Jackson-Davis said.

This week, the five-star center and potential McDonald’s All-American extended his gratitude to IU’s coaching staff with a long-coveted commitment.

What felt like a formality across the past year became a reality in recent days. Jackson-Davis publicly announced his decision to sign with Indiana on Friday afternoon, but actually came to his decision — and informed IU’s coaching staff — days earlier.

Consider it a well-kept secret.

It’s a major addition for Indiana coach Archie Miller, who continues to make good on his promise to land the best prospects in the state. Of the seven players who have committed to Miller since last summer, five are native Hoosiers.

Miller’s first priority, of course, was blue-chip New Albany guard Romeo Langford, who signed with IU this past spring. From there, Jackson-Davis and Fort Wayne wing Keion Brooks fell next on Miller’s list.

With Jackson-Davis’ decision, Miller now has a chance to sign back-to-back Indiana Mr. Basketball award winners, something that hasn’t happened for the Hoosiers since Luke Recker and Tom Coverdale came to Bloomington in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

Make no mistake, Langford’s decision to join the Hoosiers started a trickle-down effect that IU is still enjoying today. Langford and IU freshman point guard Rob Phinisee traveled together to watch Jackson-Davis and Center Grove take on Cathedral and fellow Indiana signee Armaan Franklin on Friday night, a gesture that Jackson-Davis appreciated.

Center Grove defeated Cathedral, 63-60. Jackson-Davis finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

“I don’t know if I’m gonna play with (Langford) because he could be a one-and-done, but at the same time, just seeing all the love that he got just makes you want to stay in-state and play for your fans and for your home state,” Jackson-Davis said.

Jackson-Davis, who chose Indiana over Michigan State and UCLA, is considered the No. 16 overall player in the country, per the 247 Sports Composite rankings. The same database pegs the Center Grove star as the No. 4 center nationally and the second-best player in the state.

Now that he’s a Hoosier, Jackson-Davis is turning his attention to Brooks, his teammate on the AAU circuit. Brooks, a five-star prospect at La Lumiere, is considering IU along with Michigan State and North Carolina. Brooks is ranked third among in-state high school seniors by 247 Sports.

And Jackson-Davis wants him to become a Hoosier.

“We have some recruiting momentum with me and Armaan,” Jackson-Davis said. “We can try and get one or two more people in the class. My goal is to try and get Keion Brooks. That’s my main goal right now. … I reached out to him earlier. I’m going to stay in touch with him, but it’s still his decision and he has to make the best one for him.”

For Jackson-Davis, a sense of relief came with Friday’s announcement. There was still some pressure and anxiety over informing Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and UCLA’s Steve Alford, but now the Center Grove big man can focus on the rest of his senior season, which could end with the Mr. Basketball award.

Jackson-Davis, whose biological father is former Indiana Pacer Dale Davis, has been building to this point for years.

“Me and him talked about being Mr. Basketball as a freshman,” Center Grove coach Zach Hahn said. “I knew his genes and what he was gonna develop into. I thought if we could teach him some skill and the right way to play basketball that he’d have a chance to be that if he worked hard. He’s taken care of all of that on his own and he deserves all the credit he can get. He’s become quite the player.”

When Jackson-Davis arrived at the high school level in 2015, Hahn called around the state to alert college coaches to what was coming. Hahn phoned then-IU assistant Tim Buckley, then-Butler assistant Terry Johnson and Purdue head coach Matt Painter.

“All three of them came in and watched a guy that they’d never heard of before,” Hahn said. “Now they all know who he is. He’s come a long way.”

Now, he’s headed to Bloomington.

“Everyone made me feel welcome,” Jackson-Davis said. “That really helps when you want to stay in-state. Then, you have all the fans on top of that. It just really helps.”


  1. I wonder what the travel logs look like for Tom Crean and staff recruiting vs Archie Miller and staff recruiting?

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