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Don’t sleep on Isaiah Jackson

One analyst thinks Jackson could end up being the best post player from the 2020 class.


Five-star recruits are nothing new for UK coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. But at least one newcomer, Isaiah Jackson, may already be a sleeper among the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.

As first reported by Larry Vaught, Jackson’s former high school coach, David McGlown, as well as writer Dan McDonald, think that UK got a steal with Jackson, who played at Waterford Mott (Mich.) High School during the 2019-20 season.

In fact, McGlown predicts the 6-9 Jackson will be a top-15 NBA pick in two years, while McDonald thinks he just might be the “best post player in the (2020) class when all is said and done.”

Such high praise is great news for the Wildcats who are waiting on the NCAA to make a final decision on the eligibility of transfer Olivier Sarr, who left Wake Forest after head coach Danny Manning was fired after six season. Sarr, a 7-0 footer from France, is currently the only true center on the Kentucky roster next season.

If Sarr is deemed ineligible, Kentucky’s inside game will fall on the shoulders of its only returning player, Keion Brooks Jr., Jackson, and fellow freshman Lance Ware, with each standing 6-9 but bringing different skills to the forward position.

McGlown says that the 205-pound Jackson is not afraid of contact in the pant and will put on more strength and weight once he arrives on campus.

“He can play inside with no problems if needed,” McGlown said. “He’s not thick but he’s not soft or timid when he gets the ball down low. He plays stronger and bigger than what he is.”

Jackson, known more as a defender and rim protector, was never rated higher than 32nd by top national recruiting services and was not among the five finalists for Michigan’s 2020 Mr. Basketball Award that was won by Charles “Scooby” Johnson, a Butler signee, who played at Benton Harbor High School.

However, McGlown and McDonald both agree that Jackson is primed for a breakout year in his first season at Kentucky.

“My challenge to him was to shoot four or five 3’s a game to expand his offensive game and let people know he was not just a post-you-up, defensive player,” McGlown said. “I think he proved what he could do and let people know he is not just a back to the basketball offensive player and defensive rim guy. He’s got some offensive skills, too.”

Kentucky signed six of ESPN’s Top 100 prospects for next season, including BJ Boston (7), Terrence Clarke (10), Devin Askew (26), Jackson (34), Ware (46) and Cam’Ron Fletcher (61). The newcomers will fill the void left by losing every scholarship player with the exception of Brooks and Dontaie Allen, who took a medical redshirt with a knee injury.