BLOOMINGTON — Freshmen classmates Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armaan Frankin are getting along famously on and off the court for the Indiana men’s basketball team.
When the two aren’t practicing, they bunk together at their dorm as roommates, either playing video games or binge watching Will Ferrell movies.
“We even watched Step Brothers about six times since it came on Netflix,” Franklin said. “We watch all the Avengers movies, all the Marvel movies. Sometimes we throw some scary movies in there.”
No, the 6-foot-9 Jackson-Davis and the 6-4 Franklin aren’t sleeping in bunkbeds. They have their own sleeping space. But the duo are creating a bond both off and on court the Hoosiers hope will continue Saturday when they face Portland State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (2 p.m., Big Ten Network Plus).
“We’re brothers,” Jackson-Davis said. “We love each other. We hang out all the time. Even off the court, we’re always with each other, always going out to eat, doing stuff, playing video games together. We’ve really created a really good bond over summer. I would say it’s gone really well so far.”
Jackson-Davis and Franklin both started in their IU debuts against Western Illinois on Tuesday. Franklin finished with five points and eight assists, while Jackson-Davis — a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school — had eight points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
Both have needed to demonstrate versatility early in their college careers. Jackson-Davis has bounced between power forward and center, depending on lineups. Franklin was thrust in the point guard role in IU’s exhibition game with Gannon due to injuries to Devonte Green and Al Durham, and played both on and off the ball with Durham returning for the Western Illinois opener.
Franklin also was thrown into playing point guard the last minute in his junior year at Indianapolis Cathedral.
“This is kind of like another situation for me, so I was kind of ready for it,” Franklin said. “Just had to learn at a faster pace. There was more things to learn at this level, so I think I’m starting to adjust to it a little bit.”
Of his eight-assist debut, Franklin said: “It’s just playing basketball, making the simple plays. You know, find the open man. If I have a shot, I’ll shoot it but mostly just looking for the open man. Just playing basketball.”
Jackson-Davis said he’s feeling more comfortable at power forward after playing center at Center Grove in Greenwood.
“Just really working on my on-ball defense is probably the biggest key,” Jackson-Davis said. “I played the 4 in EYBL, so it’s an adjustment still that I’m making, but I think I’ve done pretty well so far.”
Another area of emphasis for Jackson-Davis has been on the boards. Indiana coach Archie Miller prodded Jackson-Davis to go after the ball harder off the glass after he collected just one rebound in a closed scrimmage last month against Marquette.
“We do this drill — it’s two-on-two blocks out,” Jackson-Davis said. “You’ve got to usually get two rebounds on defense before you can go out. Then if you offensive rebound, you have to stay on defense. So that’s really a big one that’s really helped us with our rebounding.”
The on-court chemistry between Franklin and Jackson-Davis began when the duo played together on the same travel team in seventh grade. Off the court, Franklin described Jackson-Davis as a “big, goofy dude.”
“He’ll just say some random stuff sometimes,” Frankin said. “(I’ll) be looking at him like, bro, what are you talking about? But, no, he’s a really funny dude. We get along real well.”
Jackson-Davis said Franklin was quiet when he first got to know him.
“After a while, he’ll get out of his shell,” Jackson-Davis said. “He’s a fun dude to be around.”
The Big Ten champion Indiana men’s soccer team won three significant honors by the conference Friday.
Todd Yeagley was named Big Ten coach of the year, while sophomore Jack Maher was named Big Ten defender of the year and freshman Aidan Morris was named Big Ten freshman of the year.
Yeagley has led IU to a 12-2-3 overall record and a 7-1 conference mark to win a Big Ten title for a second straight year.
Maher, IU’s sophomore captain, anchored a defense that allowed just 15 goals in 17 games and posted six shutouts. Morris posted a team-high six assists for the Hoosiers this season to go with two goals for 10 points.
PATBERG ON WOODEN WATCH
Indiana women’s basketball redshirt junior guard Ali Patberg was one of 30 players named to the Wooden Award Watch List this week, given to the best women’s college basketball player in the country.
A Notre Dame transfer, Patberg averaged 15.8 points and 4.3 assists at point guard in her first season with the Hoosiers in 2018-19, ranking seventh in the Big Ten in scoring and fifth in the conference in assists.
Patberg finished with six points and eight assists Thursday to help the IU women’s basketball team open its sixth season under coach Teri Moren with a 75-52 win over Mount St. Mary’s at Assembly Hall.