Indiana junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has been named to the Associated Press Preseason All-American team as a first-team selection. The team was released on Monday.
Jackson-Davis, the only high major player to average at least 19.0 points and 9.0 rebounds last season, is Indiana's first preseason All-American since Cody Zeller in 2012.
Jackson-Davis, a Greenwood, Ind., native who has been Indiana's leading scorer and rebounder the past two years, was joined on the first team by Gonzaga's Drew Timme, Villanova's Collin Gillespie, UCLA's Johnny Juzang and Illinois center Kofi Cockburn,
Jackson-Davis pondered turning pro after his sophomore season. But when new coach Mike Woodson, who was hired March 29 to replace Archie Miller, sat down with Jackson-Davis and his dad, it didn't take long for him to decide to stick around.
“My freshman year I didn’t have a say in anything,” Jackson-Davis said. “I just kind of just held my tongue. I felt like last year I did it better, not to the best of my abilities, but I spoke up a lot more in the locker room. This year I think I’m taking the full pledge to try to lead guys on our team, especially the younger guys.”
During his sophomore year, he was a third-team All-American selection. He was fourth in the Big Ten in scoring (19.1), second in rebounding (9.0), fifth in field goal percentage (51.7%) and blocked shots (1.4) and was third in minutes played (34.2). In league games only, he finished third in scoring (18.4), second in rebounding (9.2), fourth in field goal percentage (50.6%) and blocked shots (1.4) and third in minutes played (34.2).
He is the first returning first, second, or third team All- American for the Hoosiers since Calbert Cheaney in 1993.
Jackson-Davis and Cockburn have had some great battles the past two years. It was more of a surprise that the 7-footer came back to Illinois after averaging 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season to earn a second-team spot on the AP All-America team.
He was projected to be taken in the late first round or early second round of the NBA draft, but returned to cement his legacy at Illinois.
“I feel like if I could weigh the value of leaving after my freshman year and playing in the NBA,” Cockburn said. “Now, I feel like this is definitely more valuable, just having a legacy and having a home and somewhere you’re going to be remembered forever.”