Isaiah Jackson is a fairly new name when it comes to Kentucky Basketball recruiting, but things are already moving fast in this recruitment.
Jackson, a 6-9 190-pound power forward from Detroit (MI), is an intriguing option for Kentucky in the class of 2020. Kentucky had been focusing on Isaiah Todd, Lance Ware, Greg Brown and Cliff Omoruyi in terms of 2020 big men, but you can now add Jackson to that list.
Though he does not yet hold a scholarship offer from John Calipari, it is likely that he will get one during his visit to Lexington, which is scheduled for this weekend. He’s ranked 20th overall in 2020 by Rivals, 21st by ESPN, and 30th by 247 Sports.
Jackson could very well be the player who breaks the recent streak of the Cats missing out on elite big men, a trend that became all too common in the class of 2019, especially toward the latter end of that recruiting cycle.
During a recent interview with Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, Jackson had some positive feedback about his perception of John Calipari and the way that the University of Kentucky develops talent.
“They develop pros, they have the most pros in the league that are doing really good. They’re just a good school, the environment, they don’t have an NBA team so their college team is like an NBA team so it’s like a huge family.” Jackson told Daniels.
From the sounds of it, Jackson already has a decent idea of how things operate and the culture at Kentucky. He could join Brandon Boston Jr. and Cam’Ron Fletcher as pledges for 2020 if given the opportunity.
There are already some heavy hitters after Jackson, who is a Michigan native. Louisville, Arizona, Michigan, Indiana, Memphis, and Michigan State have all offered scholarships with the Spartans being viewed as the leader. Alabama and Syracuse are reported to be two top contenders as well.
Right now the five-star’s recruitment seems fairly wide open. But things could change in a big way if Jackson secures an offer from the Cats.
The partnership could be a good fit for both parties, considering that UK is already thin in the frontcourt and it’s unlikely to imagine a scenario where Nick Richards or EJ Montgomery return to school. So, adding an early commitment from a big would be big news for UK.
Most would describe Jackson’s offensive game as a work in progress, but he is showing signs of improvement with each passing month. He is an incredible athlete with good instincts and can block shots at an elite level.
Jackson is an above the rim finisher who can time a second jump to his advantage. He spent last season playing alongside LaMelo Ball and Michigan State commit Rocket Watts at Spire Academy in Ohio. But he will finish his high school career Waterford Mott, which will be his fourth high school in as many years.
Jerry Meyer of 247 Sports compared Jackson to current Timberwolves big man Jordan Bell, which is pretty accurate. Both are tremendous athletes who will throw down some highlight-reel dunks and make some spectacular blocks, but neither are considered go-to offensive weapons.
Based off his style of play and the comments he made about Kentucky, it would appear that the Cats will be in good shape to land him whenever he decides to commit. If in fact it does come down to Kentucky and Michigan State, it won’t be the only battle these two schools will have in the short term.
UK opens up the 2019-2020 season in New York City for the Champions Classic with a matchup against Sparty on November 5th. It also just so happens that Jackson is planning to commit and sign during the fall signing period, which begins November 13th and ends on the 20th.
Three years ago, a Kentucky team led by De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk dominated Michigan State at the event with five-star point guard Quade Green in attendance. At the time, Green was believed to be favoring Syracuse, but after attending Kentucky’s beatdown of the Spartans, he eventually committed to the Wildcats.
Perhaps Jackson will make his decision after he gets to see both teams in action at the Champions Classic, and those could be the preseason No. 1 and 2 teams respectively.
However, Kentucky would probably like to end this thing over the weekend if they do offer Jackson. In fact, Kentucky is 2-for-2 in commitments by 2020 recruits during official visits since Boston visited and committed in late July, followed by Fletcher. Could they make it 3-for-3 with Jackson?
Only time will tell, but for now, Jackson is planning to take more visits after this weekend.
Check out some highlights from Jackson in action at this year’s Peach Jam: