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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

men's basketball

Calbert Cheaney honored by IU, Trayce Jackson-Davis in return to Assembly Hall

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Trayce Jackson-Davis asked for one more dunk.

He had just come from the corner in front of the bench, running toward the basket and leaping from near the restricted area. As he rose toward the basket, the forward swung the ball between his legs and slammed it back with his left hand as he soared past the rim.

His dunk received nines and a 10 from the judges’ panel, and as he was named the winner of the dunk contest, he asked for one more, a victory lap.

Jackson-Davis walked toward the judges’ panel at mid-court, and stood in front of Hoosier-great Calbert Cheaney, one of the three judges. He pulled out an IU jersey with a No. 40, Cheaney’s number, and put it on top of his own No.4 uniform. The Assembly Hall crowd gave a standing ovation as the freshman, not yet born when Cheaney played at IU, honored the record-setting Hoosier.

With the crowd on its feet, Jackson-Davis picked up the ball at his feet and dribbled down the lane. He jumped as he stepped past the “B1G” logo, and finished a two-handed reverse slam, a dunk alluding to Cheaney’s own career, where he brought crowds to their feet with the same dunk.

Cheaney, the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer, returned to Assembly Hall as he was honored during Hoosier Hysteria. He was given a chance to come out on stage, for fans that rooted for him years ago and those like Jackson-Davis who weren’t alive to see him. Cheaney was given one more ovation by a Hoosier crowd.

“Showing support for the program, it never gets old,” Cheaney said. “I’ve been removed from Indiana basketball in terms of graduation for 25, 26 years. But I always want to come back because the program is very important to me. I just want to help out any way I can.”

IU head coach Archie Miller introduced Cheaney to the crowd before he walked out. He barely needed an introduction. As soon as Miller began to talk about Cheaney, before even mentioning his name, the crowd began its applause.

As Cheaney walked out the stage, the instant he appeared from beyond the screen set below IU’s national championship banners, the crowd immediately rose in a standing ovation. 

It cheered for a man who scored like no player in the Big Ten had before, nor since. Cheaney finished his career with 2,613 points. He said records are meant to be broken, but in an age with so many players leaving school before they graduate, he doesn’t see his record falling soon.

Before Cheaney took the stage, Miller said this year’s team had the potential to be special during his speech to the crowd. It was a message Cheaney backed up, showing his support toward his program.

“I’m 100% behind Archie and what he’s doing with this basketball program,” Cheaney said to the crowd, garnering yet another cheer.

Cheaney believes Miller, in the third year of his tenure, will be able to start accomplishing the things expected of him in Bloomington. Cheaney said as Miller continues to add his own players and develop them the way he needs, the team can take that next step.

“I think he’s done a good job to his point, and hopefully this season will be an indicator of that,” Cheaney said.

Cheaney said he likes what Miller has done thus far and is seeing that development take place at IU. Cheaney is a self-proclaimed development guy. Since the end of his professional career, Cheaney has been coaching, working to develop players himself.

He’s currently working with the College Park Skyhawks, a G-League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, located in College Park, Georgia. The franchise recently relocated to Georgia after previously being known as the Erie Bayhawks of Erie, Pennsylvania. Cheaney was a coach with the Bayhawks and stayed on during the move.

Cheaney arrived in Bloomington on Friday and turns around to leave Sunday. His weekend is short in his return, but it was long enough to give the fans and players alike a chance to meet a legend.

He asked for his own theme song after he walked out on stage. He came back just barely behind the screens and returned to the sound of DJ Khaled's' “All I Do is Win”.

It was fitting. That’s all he ever did with IU, and that's all he wants to see the program he stands by do now.

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