Ben Malcomson: Trayce Jackson-Davis Inches Closer to HIS Decision
Written By: Ben Malcomson 8/5/2018
Do not let my title fool you. This is not your cliché news update on a young man’s announcement. If you look close enough, the most important word is in ALL CAPS.
Easy to lose sight of the big picture when you become emotionally caught up in fandom. I have been guilty of doing so in my past. Some of us grow and learn from our mistakes. Some of us are a little quicker at it than others. Some of us never learn.
When I say us, I mean us human beings in general. In my opinion, it is human nature to desire to want more. To compete to win. Nobody enjoys losing. I, personally, got plenty a taste for losing during my high school playing days. The funny thing is, when you sit back and digest getting your butt handed to you, you can come away from it a stronger person. I believe you can only truly appreciate winning when you have suffered the bitter taste of defeat. In the world of being a fan and following recruiting closely, you will experience both winning and losing recruiting battles often.
Today, Trayce Jackson-Davis announced his Top 6. Note that he said 'Top' and not 'Final'. Which means teams on the outside looking in are just that, they are just outside of the door hoping to make their way into the fold. I do not have to look too far to see the outpouring of support from multiple fan bases hoping to sway the young man’s decisions by showing positivity and support. Of course I would love to see TJD join our Indiana Hoosiers. But, that is not my decision to make. That is HIS decision.
Gone are my days of seeing things through tunnel vision. Now, I am a big picture kind of guy who loves him some sports. I love the competition. Even during the summer months, you can find competition from a college basketball standpoint in recruiting. The important thing is to not get so caught up in it that you make poor decisions yourself.
Recently, I had Jake Weingarten on my podcast show where he went into telling me a story about a recruit who was in the process of considering his final four schools. Many of the Illinois fan base was so sure of them making his top four, they were prematurely announcing it for him! In the end, the young man decided to leave them out. This displeased many of their fans. Some of which took to direct messaging the kid and trashing him to the point that he had to make his account private. What is the worst part of this story? It was older individuals in their late 40s to 50s! Human beings that should know better!
Unbelievable! I was sickened. My heart ached for a kid I did not even know. Stories like this happen way too often.
Let us take DJ Carton and his recent decision to choose Ohio State over Indiana and Michigan. Everyone and their grandmother had him pegged to go to the Wolverines or the Hoosiers. It felt like a neck and neck race between them with the Buckeyes on the outside looking in. Only they weren’t too far outside. Ohio State made a push strong enough to make a lasting impression on the kid. The media members who had their crystal balls pointing elsewhere were mistaken. The fans who had him choosing another program were mistaken. We all were wrong. The only one who was right all along was DJ Carton.
Why you ask? Because it was his decision to make. Not mine. Not yours.
The same can be said for Trayce Jackson-Davis. His official visits are set. One of those visits will be Hoosier Hysteria on September 29th. That will be a special day not just for TJD, but for the fans and the program itself. It is the celebration of another chapter in Indiana basketball. Romeo Langford and company have arrived to join guys like Juwan Morgan determined to bring another banner to Bloomington.
Young men like Trayce Jackson-Davis and Keion Brooks Jr. are the future for somebody. They will spend their whole days being showered with love and why they are the most important. When the sun goes down before Hoosier Hysteria the event begins, it is a chance for the fans themselves to show the recruits like TJD why Indiana University is special to us. Why Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is special to us. Why just being there in that moment sharing it with our family and our friends is special to us. And let the rest will take care of itself. Isn't enjoying the moment what matters the most?
When it comes down to it, we are all fans of the game we love and the programs we support. Do not forget that. Especially, when it comes to a 17 to 18-year old’s important decision. One that is not mine to make. One that is not yours to make. Sit back and enjoy the process. If you feel differently about that, try asking yourself how you would feel in their shoes if someone trashed your decision?
In closing, most of us feel we can do what they do. Only we lack a couple of things. Talent and “God-given” ability. We were so close too! (sarcasm). Players like Trayce Jackson-Davis are living what WE can only dream of. Be happy for him. Support him.
For IU fans, if he chooses to be a Hoosier, you get crazy (not too crazy). If he chooses elsewhere, root for the Hoosiers to defeat them on the court but show class to him off it on decision day. For him, these are moments that last a lifetime. Bigger than you and I. Bigger than the game itself.