Kentucky Wildcats freshman Isaiah Jackson has made the watch list for the 2021 Karl Malone Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s best power forward.
Jackson is one of three players from the SEC on the list, as he’s joined by LSU’s Trendon Watford and Tennessee’s John Fulkerson. The Michigan native is one of just two freshmen on the preseason list.
Named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Karl Malone, this year’s award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in April. The award is in its seventh year of existence and UK has yet to have a winner named the best power forward.
Jackson, a five-star recruit ranked No. 28 overall by Rivals, averaged 19.7 points, 13.0 rebounds, 7.7 blocks, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game for Waterford Mott his senior season. Jackson was named to the Michigan All-State Division I Team (Associated Press) and was a finalist for the Mr. Michigan Basketball award. He is a three-time All-State selection and a four-time defensive player of the year in his conference. The Pontiac, Michigan, native led his high school to a pair of district and league championship.
During the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in 2019, Jackson averaged 11.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He also earned selection to the Jordan Brand Classic game.
By mid-February, the watch list will be trimmed to 10 players. Five finalists will be revealed in late February with the winner being announced during the annual ESPN College Basketball Awards show on April 9. Fan voting will be a part of all three rounds of voting before a winner is announced.
Jackson is the third UK freshman to make a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame preseason positional watch list. Terrence Clarke made the Jerry West Award watch list (nation’s top shooting guard), while Brandon Boston Jr. made the Julius Erving watch list (nation’s top small forward).
2021 Karl Malone Award Watch List
- Mark Vital – Baylor
- Aamir Simms – Clemson
- Matthew Hurt – Duke
- Drew Timme – Gonzaga
- Trayce Jackson-Davis – Indiana
- Isaiah Jackson – Kentucky
- Trendon Watford – LSU
- Tre Mitchell – Massachusetts
- Garrison Brooks – North Carolina
- Seth Towns – Ohio State
- Brady Manek – Oklahoma
- Hasahn French – Saint Louis
- Sandro Mamukelashvili – Seton Hall
- Oscar da Silva – Stanford
- John Fulkerson – Tennessee
- Greg Brown – Texas
- Kevin Marfo – Texas A&M
- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – Villanova
- Oscar Tshiebwe – West Virginia
- Nate Reuvers – Wisconsin