As part of IU basketball’s summer trip to the Bahamas, 2019 IndyStar Mr. Basketball and All-Big Ten forward Trayce Jackson-Davis will write a three-part series of travel diaries documenting the Hoosiers’ experiences.
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Anytime you can play away from home and come away winners, the rest of the trip seems much smoother. We are headed home now, but the trip to the Bahamas will prove to be more valuable to us down the road than I could have imagined.
The first thing I’ll take away is what an awesome time I had with my teammates in a setting I may never experience again. We’ve worked really hard to come together as a team since the summer began and to be able to spend time with everyone in such a beautiful setting is an incredible experience. I’m so grateful to the administration at IU for affording us this opportunity.
The cool thing was I thought there was the right mix of work coupled with the opportunity to actually enjoy a trip on the road with one another. Make no mistake, you’ll never confuse what it was like to spend six days in paradise as opposed to spending two days in a Big Ten city during the dead of winter.
Ice, snow and gray skies were replaced by sand, sun and the warmth of a beautiful tropical island. Most importantly was how proud I was of our effort and ability to withstand adversity against a quality opponent like BC Mega. I thought we played with great toughness and a solid defensive mindset. I thought that was the key as neither team allowed easy shots and earned everything it got.
I think we led for 76 of the 80 minutes in two games. We jumped out to a big lead early, but the Serbian team fought back, and I believe cut it to a point, before we scored the last six in the final minute of the half, including a big tip in by Jordan (Geronimo) as time expired and we were up 37-30 as we went to the locker room.
The locker room was a conference room just off the main ballroom and I’ve never played in a game where we were sharing the restroom facilities with the fans in attendance.
Race (Thompson) came up big (Sunday) and Xavier (Johnson) and Tamar (Bates) came up huge after Miller (Kopp) went down after injuring his ankle in the first minutes of the game. It also really seems that Jordan is gaining confidence and can be a real X-factor with his athleticism and hustle.
Q&A with Xavier Johnson:‘Oh we’re gonna run for sure. We’re going to run.’
Q&A with Tamar Bates:On developing as a point guard, being cocky and more
After the game was over, Coach bid us goodbye and said he’d see us at the end of the month and when the team found out he wasn’t going to be at the hotel last night, a cheer erupted in good fun. We had the opportunity to have Eric Gordon speak to the team. His family is from here and we were grateful that he thought enough of us to bring his mom to the game today. Maybe someday I’ll have the same opportunity.
It really does mean a lot when former players come back and share stories and offer advice. It’s really invaluable. What also was valuable was the extra practices we got to have because of the trip. I think we came away with a better idea of our capabilities and that will give us a head start when practice resumes in a couple of weeks.
We hope we’ve made our fan base proud and can’t wait to play in front of a full Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall come November.