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Isaiah Jackson rises and Terrence Clarke falls in latest NBA Draft rankings

ESPN now projects Isaiah Jackson as a lottery pick.

Terrence Clarke. Isaiah Jackson. UK Athletics

Six weeks ago, if someone told you that Isaiah Jackson would play like a projected lottery pick through the first four games of the season, you probably would have been salivating about championship No. 9.

Despite there being little to nothing to be excited about after the Kentucky Wildcats’ abysmal 1-3 start — at least one player is making their mark on the college basketball landscape.

ESPN has updated their top 100 player list for the 2021 NBA Draft, and UK freshman Isaiah Jackson has skyrocketed up the charts.

Jonathan Givony’s scouting report has him listed as the 12th best overall player and second rated power-forward. Givony had high-praise for Jackson as a rim-protector who possesses elite agility and potential.

Anybody who has watched Kentucky play this has seen glimpses of brilliance from the 6-10 freshman. It’s clear that he can do things on the court that others will never be able to do. His natural shot-blocking ability is a rare quality and NBA evaluators are starting to take notice.

Not long ago most everyone pegged Jackson to be a multi-year player but just a few games into the season and it seems highly unlikely that there will be a year two in Lexington.

Several of his 13 blocks through the first four games have been jaw-dropping and it’s clear that he’s only scratching the surface of his potential.

Ultimately Isaiah Jackson’s performance will depend heavily on how quickly his teammates can settle into their roles and provide some continuity.

Fellow freshman BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke were also listed on ESPN’s top 100 list. Boston was 6th and Clarke was ranked 22nd. For Boston, it’s about the range he was projected at coming into the season. But for Clarke, he’s tumbling a bit after being a projected lottery pick.

One thing is for sure — Isaiah Jackson has been a shining bright spot in an otherwise gloomy start to the season.