Armaan Franklin and Trayce Jackson-Davis cherish their movie time.
They’ve seen many Will Ferrell movies. They’ve seen all the Marvel movies. Occasionally, they add a scary movie. They’ve watched Step Brothers six times.
They go out to eat together. They play Fortnite, Madden, Call of Duty and FIFA.
“All the athletic games, give them to me,” Franklin said. “He has all the shooting games.”
The freshman roommates do everything together. They have a bond that began playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball together in seventh grade. In the media room, Jackson-Davis turned to look at Franklin and smiled. Franklin returned it. With the same smile and a laugh, Jackson-Davis leaned toward the microphone.
“Great chemistry,” he said through a laugh of himself and Franklin.
Franklin sees the goofy side of Jackson-Daivs, the side that is tucked away while the forward is plastering opposing shots to the backboard.
“He just says some random stuff sometimes and you look at him like, ‘What are you talking about?’” Franklin said. “He’s a real funny dude, we get along very well.”
They haven’t had many chances to put that chemistry out on the court just yet. That will come in time. Now, they’re just happy to be playing college basketball in their home state.
At first, Franklin was quiet. Or at least until Jackson-Davis saw him come out of his shell.
On the court, injuries have forced Franklin into a larger early season role than he initially expected.
“If you told me I’d be playing the point right now, I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” Franklin said.
In his first collegiate game, Franklin was a starter. He played 27 minutes against Western Illinois University. He only scored five points on 1-5 shooting but had five rebounds and a team-high eight assists.
Franklin has quickly adjusted to the speed of the college game. Junior captain Al Durham has helped Franklin during practices to learn the system and how to play at a college level.
Franklin was thrown in to play point guard in his junior year of high school at Indianapolis Cathedral High School, but that wasn’t his primary role. Even if he’s not there yet, he’s learning, and he’s had to learn fast while being thrown in the fire.
“I’ve just got to seize every opportunity I can,” Franklin said.
Jackson-Davis is no different. Like his roommate, he’s had to learn a new role. Jackson-Davis’ workload was clear before the season began, his position was too. On a team full of questions, Jackson-Davis starting at the four was virtually a lock.
But he played the five with Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana. His only experience playing the four was with an Elite Youth Basketball League team, the Indy Heat, alongside Butler University freshman John Michael-Malloy and University of Kentucky freshman Keion Brooks.
“(I'm) pretty comfortable at the four right now, probably working on my overall defense is the biggest key,” Jackson-Davis said. “It’s an adjustment that I'm making, but I think I've done pretty well so far.”
Jackson-Davis has played both the four and five in practice, depending on the groups he’s playing in during drills. The effort he’s shown in practice has led to him getting the gold jersey for the week. He’s earned it three times.
Franklin and Jackson-Davis lead the youth of IU head coach Archie Miller’s team. Their bond has only grown stronger over the summer as they began their college careers. They’re still learning, they still will be for most of this year.
Each game, and movie, will just bring them closer.