The second April live period is over, and a flurry of offers have followed. Six players received an offer from Chris Holtmann and the Bulldogs last week, and more could possibly be on the way.
One of these offers isn’t quite like the others though. Trayce Jackson-Davis, a 6’9” PF from Center Grove and the son of former NBA All-Star Dale Davis, is the only 2019 player to receive an offer since the last live period ended. He’s one of only three rising juniors in total to report a Butler offer. Jackson-Davis averaged 12.4 points, 9 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game to lead the Trojans to a sectional title last season.
But it’s not the class he’s in that makes this recruitment a little more intriguing for Bulldog fans. It’s his high school coach, Zach Hahn. For longtime Butler fans, Coach Hahn needs no introduction. He’s one of only six Butler players that played in both Final Fours earlier this decade. His biggest game came in the 2011 semifinal game against VCU when he scored 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds to help Butler advance to their second consecutive national title game appearance.
Coach Hahn hasn’t shared too much of those Final Four experiences with Trayce Jackson-Davis and his Center Grove teams, but he has shared how to win those big games. “The only thing I’ve really shared about my experience from playing days is the mentality of postseason play, where you have to have a next possession mentality, a next game mentality, and not get caught up in the moment,” Coach Hahn shared with ButlerHoops.com. “It’s just trying to take care of things you can at the moment.”
Despite those Butler ties, Coach Hahn says he won’t direct Trayce one way or another. “It’s special, but at the same time Trayce is a different kid and a different player than I was, and so ultimately I want what’s best for him,” Hahn said about the offer. “I think it’s pretty cool, especially now that Butler’s in the Big East, that he has the opportunity to play at a level that high.”
To say Jackson-Davis is a different player is an understatement. Other than being left handed, the two players couldn’t be further apart. Hahn was a 6’1” guard who specialized in 3-point shooting (what else would you expect from a New Castle graduate?). Trayce is a 6’9” athletic post player.
“Trayce is an athletic power forward who is really developing his game. He’s got a great touch around the rim,” Coach Hahn described of his rising junior star. “As a freshman we made him play with his back to the basket a lot and put him down in the post. Last year we allowed him to catch it away from the basket a little more and put the ball on the floor and make plays. This year we really expect him to do it all. He’s just really working on expanding his game and continuing to get stronger in the weight room. He’s a really good basketball player right now and he’s going to continue to get better and better and better.”
When asked for a player comparison for Trayce, Coach Hahn compared him to another lefty he played with in Butler’s second Final Four run. “He’s probably similar to Khyle Marshall, except for taller and a little bit longer. I think by the time he gets to college he’s going to be more skilled than Khyle was. Very explosive in that nature with a great jump hook.” It’s probably safe to say Butler fans would be thrilled to get a longer, more skilled version of a player who scored over 1300 points in his Butler career.
For those unfamiliar with Khyle Marshall, Trayce turned to his teammates for an NBA player comparison. “I dont compare myself to any NBA player but my teammates say that I play most like DeAndre Jordan with a better jump shot.”
Right now Trayce says Butler, Purdue, and Iowa are recruiting him the hardest, but it’s still extremely early in the recruiting process, and it doesn’t sound like he will be making an early decision. When asked if there was anything he was looking for in a school and a program, he said he wasn’t there yet, and that it was something he would think about later in the process.
For now Jackson-Davis is simply focused on getting better. Trayce is currently unranked by the major scouting services, but that won’t last through the summer. Coaches and scouts have taken notice. He has already earned three high major offers and was once again impressive this weekend at the Spiece Run ’N’ Slam. All signs point to him being a top 100 recruit once the lists are updated.
For the Bulldogs the current focus remains on the 2018 class after finalizing their 2017 class with a commitment from Aaron Thompson just last week. But they know Trayce is good enough they want him in a Butler uniform regardless of how the rest of the roster fills out. As always, be sure to check our forums often for updates on how the recruiting battles are going for the Bulldogs. You can also follow me on Twitter or like us on Facebook to make sure you never miss out on any Butler basketball recruiting news.