BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Trayce Jackson-Davis was named to the NABC Player of the Year watch list on Monday.
With high expectations on Jackson-Davis and the Indiana basketball team, the Hoosiers' star sophomore joined Andy Katz to talk about the season just two days before the first game.
Here's what Jackson-Davis had to say:
Why am I going to be correct that Indiana is going to have a good year?
"You're going to be correct because our key recruits coming in, like Khristian Lander, Anthony Leal, Trey Galloway, all Indiana guys, all ready to get going. And then really just our core players that are coming back, like Race Thompson, Joey Brunk, Jerome Hunter, I think they've all improved and done really well this offseason."
The jump from freshman to sophomore year is huge for some players, how did you get better during the offseason in a pandemic?
"Key things for me, especially being back home at Center Grove, was having some gym access because my dad has some keys there. So being able to workout there, and then just getting back on campus and just staying healthy, just trying to improve every day. It was kind of hard and difficult, but at the same time, I thought I navigated it pretty well."
In what way do you, Race Thompson and Joey Brunk fit?
"I think we all add a different aspect to the game. Joey is more of a bruiser. He is able to get in low position and he can guard bigger guys, 7-footers, stuff like that. With Race, he can stretch the floor really well. Me and him play really well together. It allows me more room to operate. And for me, I'm pretty athletic and pretty diverse as a player, so I think I can play with either one of them honestly."
In what ways have you seen guys like Rob Phinisee, Al Durham and Armaan Franklin improve?
"Rob and Al have just been solid for us. Rob's been playing really well. He leads our team in steals in practice. We have practice points, so he's been playing really well on defense, shooting the ball really well. Armaan's a guy that came in, started the first nine games last year, so he already has experience, but he wants to prove himself this year. I think he's eager to go. And then Al being one of our senior captains, he's a leader on our team, and he just brings it all together and leads us really well."
As you saw the decisions of guys like Luka Garza, Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn, Aaron Henry, Isaiah Livers all come back, what do you expect the Big Ten to be like this season?
"It's gonna be absolutely brutal. Last year, I think it was one of the best conferences in the country, and I think this year, top to bottom, it's going to be the same way. Our team is going to have to bring it every night, but then again, if you win those games, it just shows that you're one of the best in the country."
What's the morning like after you've gone against guys like Luka Garza and Kofi Cockburn?
"Morning after, it's three treatment sessions. One at 11, one at 3 and one at 6. Like it's crazy, banging with him (Kofi), Luka and all of those guys. It's difficult but then again, it's all a part of the game, and I enjoy it."