It’s been a while since John Calipari had a big time impact post player recruit. Both Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery took multiple years to find their roles as Kentucky Wildcats. It took PJ Washington two seasons. Sacha Killeya-Jones didn’t work out at all. Neither did Tai Wynyard.
The last time Cal had a high impact freshman big man was Bam Adebayo in 2016. Adebayo, unlike the previously mentioned big men, was ready from the start and was drafted in the lottery after his one season with the Cats.
Kentucky used to be Big Man U. DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and Karl Anthony-Towns were the best big men in the country during their season at Kentucky.
Calipari needs one of those guys this year now more than ever. Can Isaiah Jackson help Calipari get his big man groove back?
Tale of the Tape
- Position: Power forward
- National Rank: 28
- Position Rank: 3
- Height: 6’9
- Weight: 200
Outlook: Isaiah Jackson comes to Kentucky as an elite shotblocker and defender. He has great speed and is can jump out of the gym. Calipari loves bigs that can shut down the middle and bigs that can easily catch lobs in offensive transition. Jackson fits that mold perfectly.
Outside of his ability to dunk putbacks and lobs, there are questions surrounding Jackson’s offensive ability. He is very raw and reminds me a lot of Nick Richards as a freshman as skills are concerned. He’s very different in regards to his motor. I would be very surprised if Jackson has issues with motivation and conditioning. He has the reputation as being a hard worker and thrives at practice.
It’s still a question where he will play on the court. Kentucky is loaded at power forward with Jackson, Keion Brooks, and Lance Ware. Out of the three, Jackson would be most likely to move to the five position. He’s more suited to that spot than the other two player due to his athleticism.
Jackson looks to be a bit of a project but Calipari needs him to be good right away. It’s on Jackson to prepare himself and I think that’s exactly what he will do.
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