A Conversation with Warriors Rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis
Jackson-Davis Discusses His Transition to Life as an NBA Player, Living in the Bay Area, and More
A four-year player at Indiana University, Trayce Jackson-Davis has worked to improve his game year after year and he has reaped the rewards because of it. The 6″9 forward averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 4.0 during his Senior year. He helped lead the Indiana Hoosiers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament while receiving All-American honors along the way. He now joins a franchise that has aspirations to reach the mountaintop once more as NBA Champions this upcoming season. During our conversation, Jackson-Davis covers a plethora of topics and opens up about his adjustment to life as a rookie in the NBA.
The Conversation with Trayce Jackson-Davis
Alexander Scott (AS): First off how are things?
Trayce Jackson-Davis (TJD): Things are going good. Just working, honestly.
AS: Have you been up in The Bay most of the time?
TJD: I’ve been around a little bit. Mostly in The Bay, but on weekends sometimes we’ll have team camps and we’ll go to different places like LA or Las Vegas
AS: Yeah I saw that there was that minicamp hosted by Steph in Vegas. How was that experience?”
TJD: It was good. Got to learn a lot from him and play open gym with some of the guys so that was cool
AS: I know you’ve been living in California a bit now after living in Indiana your whole life. How has that been and has it lived up to your expectations?
TJD: Yeah it has. I have family out here (Indiana) and also have family in LA, but this is the first time I’ve been out here in the Bay Area. It’s a lot different from LA, but at the same time, it’s been solid.
AS: How’s the summer been overall? I know you’ve been going to these minicamps, but have you been going to the UCLA runs and some of the other pickup games?
TJD: Yeah we were out there for a little bit. I didn’t get to play because they were trying to be precautious with my hamstring. Other than that down there around LA, hung out with the guys there a little bit. Our team had a minicamp in Vegas, and the Steph one the week before. Being around the guys, being able to travel a little bit, kind of experience the lifestyle, it’s been great.
AS: Would you say you have an idea of what it’s like to be in the NBA now? I know you know some guys in the league already, but have you kind of gotten acclimated in the sense of getting ready to be a professional now?
TJD: Yeah I think that I’m ready. Just the traveling, I’m kind of used to it being at Indiana, and all the travel we did there, but it’s still at a different level. But I feel like I’ve kind of gotten acclimated to it, being gone every weekend. Playing 82 games is a lot different than playing 30, but I feel like it will be a great experience.
AS: Which other players on the team have you been spending the most time with? I know you’ve probably been able to get to know Brandin (Podziemski) really well, but what other players have you been able to hang out with and work out with so far?
TJD: Honestly, everyone’s been really cool. Obviously the older guys, they got other stuff they have to attend to, they have families and stuff like that. Players like JK (Jonathan Kuminga), Moses (Moody), I’ve talked to Jerome (Robinson) a lot, and Gary (Payton). They’re all solid dudes. Just getting able to talk to them, it’s been a great experience.
AS: What’s the dynamic been like with you being older than guys like JK and Moses, but them being 3-year NBA guys already? Has that been, not a weird dynamic, but has it been a little strange?
TJD: Yeah it’s a little strange, but at the same time at the end of the day they’re just like me. They’re not really kids necessarily, but people with the same goals and aspirations as me. Being able to be around all athletes, hang out with guys with the same lifestyle that you live, and want to do the same things. So it’s been really good.
AS: Switching gears, I want to ask a few IU-related questions and your experience there. I know it’s hard because you were there for four years, but what was your favorite memory during that span?
TJD: I would say probably beating Purdue at Purdue was probably my favorite. Just because the look on their faces at Mackey (Arena) was really funny… everyone was talking about how we’re probably going to get them at Assembly Hall, but that “they still had to come see us at Mackey”. We were like alright, bet. That was that, but I thought that was really a great experience, probably one of my favorite memories. Seeing the look on their faces was priceless.
AS: What would be your all-time Indiana starting 5? Doesn’t have to be restricted to just players that were there when you were, but if you had to pick a lineup of IU alums who would that be?
TJD: IT (Isaiah Thomas) at the 1, Vic (Victor Oladipo) at the 2, Calbert Chaney at the 3, me at the 4, and I would probably go with Cody (Zeller) at the 5
AS: Excluding fellow Hoosiers, who were some of the best players you played against during your time playing college basketball?
TJD: There’s a lot, but some off the top of my head are Zach (Edey), who’s a great player. Kofi (Cockburn), Hunter Dickinson, and Jalen Pickett, who had a great year last year. Then playing with Jalen Hood-Schifino, Xavier (Johnson), there’s been a lot of dudes. Treveon Williams as well. There are just so many players that have ended up in the league you can’t even choose.
AS: What’s your favorite Mike Woodson saying or piece of advice he’s passed down to you?
TJD: It’s probably a saying. He loves talking in the third person and I think that’s hilarious. He’d be like, “Guys this is not about Mike Woodson” before going on rants and stuff like that. Or he’ll talk about how we were going to run the stairs in Assembly Hall, but not once did he make us do that. He just likes to chat.
AS: What parts of your game did you work to improve on most during your time there? And secondly, what has the Warriors coaching/player development staff had you focus on most so far?
TJD: I think the biggest thing I focused on most up to my Senior year was pushing the ball up the court and my passing. Those are two huge things I wanted to add to my game so that teams couldn’t just double-team me, and so that I could get it in different spots on the floor and still make an impact.
Some things that the Warriors have been working on with me – we still played pick and roll at IU – but there’s more of an emphasis now on pick and rolls. Reading what guys are doing, where shooters will be stuff of that nature. Obviously, the Warriors offense has a lot of weapons and uses the ball screen. And so, being able to catch in the short roll when Steph gets doubled and they press upon him is going to be huge for me, to make the right read. And continuing to work on my jump shot, work in the weight room, and be able to guard guys who are bigger than me – I did that during my four years in college so hopefully some of that translates a little bit.
AS: Yeah I was wondering about the jump shot because a guy like Kevon Looney – I’m sure you’ve seen his college mixtape where he looks like Baby Kevin Durant. He was shooting threes and had a smooth stroke, but now he rarely shoots at all. I don’t know if it could be attributed to injuries at all, but I was wondering if they are encouraging you to work on and shoot the midrange?
TJD: The coaches have definitely talked to me about it and said that it’s something I still need to have viable in my game and continue to work on. Obviously when you have guys like Steph, Klay, and guys like that you’re not going to have to use it that much because they’re two of the greatest shooters ever. But at the same time, being able to make an outside jump shot and making teams honor you is going to be huge.
AS: Which players and teams are you looking forward to playing against the most? I’m guessing you were a Pacers fan growing up?
TJD: I like the Pacers, I wouldn’t say I was necessarily a fan. They’re fine, they’re cool I guess. But I’d say the player that I’m looking forward to playing against is LeBron, obviously watched him growing up, and probably one of my favorite players. KD, Giannis, all the greats that are in the league right now. And then some dudes like Jalen Hood-Schifino, that’s my guy, playing with the Lakers obviously with LeBron. I think we go against them first in preseason so that’ll be a pretty cool experience. Grew up with a lot of guys in my class, who I haven’t seen since Freshman year like Cole Anthony and Tyrese Maxey. Those are guys that I’m looking forward to playing.
AS: What were your thoughts on the Warriors as a whole before joining the organization? Were you an admirer? A hater?
TJD: I was never a hater. You can’t really hate greatness. What Steph has done for the game, what Steph has done in general is incredible and what that team has done is incredible. They built a dynasty so being able to be a part of that is huge. And their culture, seeing how they win, seeing what they do is huge for me and I think that’ll continue to help with my development. But I think as I was going through the draft process, when I worked out for them and how they said they would use me, and how their system fits my playstyle, I thought that it was a really really good fit. They were probably in my top two teams that I wanted to get drafted to.
AS: I have a few more fun questions for you before we wrap up if that’s cool. What’s the best food you’ve had in the Bay Area so far?
TJD: I would say the sushi. Can’t really get sushi in the Midwest, it’s not that good I’m not going to lie to you. Being on the water, all the seafood has been really really good, high-level.
AS: Are you into other types of Asian food? Because I have a good rec for you.
TJD: Yeah, most definitely.
AS: There’s this dim sum place, that’s a chain in the City, it’s called Yank Sing. I highly recommend it.
TJD: I’ll definitely hit it up.
AS: And so now given that NBA players have gotten more involved in fashion, I know you have probably seen the @leaguefits Instagram page, have you done a lot of clothes and shoe shopping?
TJD: I haven’t done a crazy amount, right now. But even at IU, Xavier Johnson and a few other dudes started getting into the fashion stuff. And so probably during my Junior year and my Senior year I started buying a lot more clothes than I’m used to, and I’m sure that’s going to continue as the season goes on. But yeah, I would say I’m pretty into fashion.
AS: How would you describe your style? Are you more reserved, or are you wearing all the designer?
TJD: I would say a little bit of both. It really just depends. Sometimes I’ll step out with the designer, and then other times I’m just chilling, wearing sweats and a hoodie. It just all depends on how I’m feeling, and how my mood is.
AS: Besides basketball, what are your favorite sports to watch?
TJD: I would say college football is probably my favorite sport to watch. There’s nothing like it. Just the energy and the atmosphere, especially live. I’m actually watching Florida State vs. Clemson right now. But my brother (Tayven Jackson) plays in a little bit so I’ll catch his game, and then Colorado, will also catch them. So it’s a good day when football is on all day.
AS: If you weren’t an NBA player, what type of career would you pursue?
TJD: I’d probably pursue something in real estate. You know, there’s a lot of money in that. Either real estate or I’d be a personal chef.
AS: Do you have a personal chef yet? Or are you going to see how it goes this first year?
TJD: I don’t have one yet, but I probably will eventually get one. Still trying to get all moved in and stuff, and experience the cuisine here.
AS: As you should. There’s a lot of good food and culture in The Bay, and I’m sure you’ll get around to it once you have more time.
I’m excited for the season, and thanks so much for taking the time. Take care, good luck this season, and stay healthy. Wishing you the best. Enjoy watching college football today.
Trayce Jackson-Davis looks to make a big impact on the Warriors this season.
This conversation was recorded on Saturday, September 23rd, 2023.