Senior staff writer
Center Grove basketball standout Trayce Jackson-Davis had an excused absence from missing the Indiana-Kentucky Junior All-Star games earlier this month. The 6-10 player was a bit busy at the USA Basketball training site in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he was named last week to the Men’s U18 National Team coached by Bill Self of Kansas and assistants Anthony Grant of Dayton and former Indiana Pacer Danny Manning of Wake Forest. “Going for gold,” Jackson-Davis immediately stated on Twitter.
Jackson-Davis, the only Hoosier on the team, and 11 of the nation’s top high school basketball players will represent the United States at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men through Saturday in St. Catharine’s, Canada. He and his team remained in Colorado last week until departing Thursday for Canada, where they competed in Group A, facing the Dominican Republic, Panama and Puerto Rico this week. Group B consists of Canada, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina. Semifinals are Friday with finals Saturday; the top four teams qualify for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.
The U18 USA team was selected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee chaired by Matt Painter of Purdue. Self said in a press release that the team has “a lot of interchangeable parts. I can see us playing four little guards around a big. I could see us playing two bigs, two little guards and a three. … The appearance is that they’ll be a fun group to spend two weeks with.” Jackson-Davis, a senior, is a prime candidate for 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball.
Coached by former Butler standout Zach Hahn, he averaged 21.9 points as a junior (up from 12.4 as a sophomore), 9.3 rebounds, 4.1 blocked shots and 2.6 assists per game. He helped lead the Trojans to back-to-back sectional championships but lost both years in the Seymour regional to New Albany and 2018 Indiana Mr. Basketball Romeo Langford.