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IU coach Mike Woodson gearing up for life without Trayce Jackson-Davis

(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Wednesday, IU men’s basketball coach Mike Woodson spoke at length about the direction of his team this year at the Indiana Basketball Media Day at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

The Hoosiers lost several key players this offseason following the team’s second-round exit from the NCAA Tournament.

IU’s third all-time leading scorer Trayce Jackson-Davis and star point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino left for the NBA draft, while Race Thompson and Miller Kopp graduated.

Over the offseason, the Hoosiers added plenty of new pieces.

  • Kal’el Ware, a 7’0 sophomore center from Oregon.
  • Anthony Walker, a 6’9 senior forward from Miami.
  • Mackenzie Mgbako, a five-star forward from Roselle Catholic High School in New Jersey.

Despite the exciting new additions, Coach Woodson knows that he will need to rely on the returning players on the roster.

“[Xavier Johnson and Trey Galloway] have to give us some more,” Woodson says. “A lot has to be done between now and the time that we step on the floor and start playing some actual basketball.”

Xavier Johnson, a redshirt Senior, played in just 11 games last season before suffering a season-ending foot injury against Kansas on Dec. 17.

“Two years ago, make no mistake about it, we got in the tournament because of Xavier Johnson and his play coming down the home stretch,” Woodson said. “X has played in more basketball games in college than anybody on our ball club so I expect him to lead. Be a point guard and be a leader on and off the floor and put us in position to win basketball games.”

Meanwhile, Trey Galloway steps into an even bigger role this season after being a critical part of last year’s squad. Both Johnson and Galloway have been named captains heading into this season.

“I am hard on captains, I’ve always been that way. Bob Knight was hard on me as a captain when I was here,” Woodson said. “You are not given that title just to be given it, you’ve got to earn it.”

Coach Woodson played for Indiana from 1976-1980, and was a team captain under the legendary coach Bob Knight.

As for the 2023-24 campaign, some may relax expectations for the Hoosiers after losing their two best players from a year ago, but Woodson doesn’t see it that way.

“I took this job to win Big Ten titles and national titles. I’ve fallen short the first two years,” Woodson said. “This season is no different. We gotta go and win a Big Ten title and if we are fortunate enough to get into the tournament play then we figure it out there.”

The Hoosiers host the University of Indianapolis for an exhibition game on Oct. 29 before opening up the season against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 7.

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