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Ian Jackson commits to North Carolina

The top-five recruit is now off the board.

High School Basketball: HoopHall West Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari has gotten his recruiting swagger back after landing the top recruiting class in 2023, regaining his title and putting the Cats back on top with elite talent.

However, Kentucky just suffered its first significant loss in the class of 2024, as five-star guard Ian Jackson has committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels. Jackson announced the news during the Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts on Monday.

Jackson, out of Cardinal Hayes High school in the Bronx, picked the Heels over Kentucky and Arkansas among others. He recently took visits to Chapel Hill and Fayetteville, and visited Lexington for Big Blue Madness back in October.

Known for his talent on both ends of the floor, Jackson will bring elite defense which is what he takes pride in. He told Jack Pilgrim of KSR back in June those exact words when asked what separates him:

“The way I get after it on the defensive end,” Jackson said. “I take pride in no one scoring on me. It’s probably a New York thing for me, I really take pride on that end of the floor, making sure no one scores. I lock things down on that end of the floor. That’s what separates me.”

Alongside his defensive prowess, Jackson also shows elite playmaking ability on offense, while also being able to fill it up from all three levels.

Jackson is currently ranked as the No. 2 overall player in the class by the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He’s also considered reclassifying to the 2023 class, but as of late, the buzz has been Jackson will stick to the 2024 class.

A tough loss for the Cats, but they’re still in the running for another elite 2024 shooting guard in Tre Johnson, who is currently the top-ranked player in the class. Look for Kentucky to really ramp up its pursuit of Johnson now that Jackson is off the board.