BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It was 79 long days ago, on a cold Friday in early February, that Trayce Jackson-Davis said he was coming back to Indiana for his sophomore year.
On Sunday, the deadline for declaring for the NBA Draft, he made it official, posting on social media that he will be returning to the Hoosiers for another year, and that he had "unfinished business.''
The news was not a surprise, of course, because he said exactly the same thing to Sports Illustrated Indiana on Feb. 7 during a one-on-one interview in the Indiana locker room. He talked at length that day during a 10-minute interview about expanding his game during the 2020-21 season and becoming an even more-dominant player for the Hoosiers.
He was already pretty good as a freshman. He led the Hoosiers in scoring (13.5 points per game), rebounding (8.4), offensive rebounds (96), blocks (59), free throws made (115), free throw attempts (168) and double-doubles (12).
His impact was immense. In those 12 games where he had a double-double, Indiana went 11-1. He was, without question, the best player on an Indiana team that went 20-12 on the year. He made the Big Ten All-Freshman team and the was third-team All-Big Ten selection.
Jackson-Davis always had the right to change his mind, of course — youngsters can do that often — but he's never hinted anything otherwise about coming back for his sophomore year and waiting on the NBA. Even along the way, he's reached out to next year's teammates often. His shout-out to Indiana signee Anthony Leal when he followed Jackson-Davis as Indiana's Mr. Basketball two weeks ago mentioned looking forward to playing with him.
Leal, Jackson-Davis and former Hoosier Romeo Langford have won the past three Mr. Basketball awards. It's the first time in Indiana basketball history that that has happened.
And standout 5-star point guard Khristian Lander, who's trying to graduate early so he can reclassify and join this Hoosiers this year, did the same, tweeting that he had "eyes" on Jackson-Davis after making it official.
Jackson-Davis talked a lot during our interview about what his sophomore season at Indiana. When we talked about other standout Big Ten big guys like Ohio State's Kaleb Wesson and Maryland Jalen Smith adding big pieces to their games in their second year, Jackson-Davis said that's exactly the plan for him, too.
Yeah, I'll be back next year, most definitely,'' he said in February. "There's a lot I can add to my game. I know that for sure. In high school, I had freedom so I brought the ball up, played on the perimeter some, did some things in different places. I know I have that in my arsenal, and we'll see more of that down the road.
"Right now, I like what I'm doing, but it's all a learning process too. I don't feel like a freshman anymore, not this deep into the season. I really think after about five or 10 games you really start to get a feel for how you're going to play with your teammates and being on the court together. I'm definitely not a freshman anymore.''
Trayce wasn't the only one in the family who had big news to share with Hoosiers fans on Sunday. His younger brother Tayven Jackson, a standout young quarterback at Center Grove High School, also took to Twitter to announce that he had received an offer from Indiana football coach Tom Allen.
Related stories on Trayce Jackson-Davis
- I'M COMING BACK: Trayce Jackson-Davis tells Sports Illustrated Indiana on Feb. 7 that he's coming back for his sophomore year. CLICK HERE
- FINAL GRADES: Indiana freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis was the only Hoosier with an A grade during our series breaking down the roster. CLICK HERE
- DOMINANT PERFORMANCE: Trayce Jackson-Davis goes for 27 points and 16 rebounds against Minnesota. CLICK HERE