Photo courtesy of Position Sports/Jon Lopez/Nike
By David Cordova
In the high school class of 2020, you see plenty of leapers that are all athletic and show out in different ways. Most or all of them, tend to take over the game.
One of those players with athletic gifts that is a force to be reckoned with is Isaiah Jackson. At the present time, he is rated as the No. 14 player nationally in the rising senior class by ESPN. It is appropriate being that the 6-foot-9 forward has some great intangibles, like blocking shots, getting rebounds and being able to play above the rim.
Last month at the NBPA Top 100 Camp on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, he showcased his talent in front of college coaches and NBA scouts and dominated throughout.
When asked about being in the camp for the second year in a row and what he gained from it, he replied, “I’m just getting experience for real, it’s a lot of coaches and GM’s and stuff, so I’m just playing my game and showing what I can do, get better.”
Last season, as a junior, he was on one of the nation’s most prominent high school squads at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, which featured Rocket Watts, an incoming freshman at Michigan State and LaMelo Ball, who is now playing professionally in Australia for the Illawalla Hawks of the National Basketball League. With those three in the fold, Spire was on fire, with a 31-2 record.
When asked about the experience, he replied, “It was good, it was fun, real fun. It was a good experience having all the cameras around and stuff, so it was a good experience, cause I really needed that publicity a little bit. It helped me a lot, because I never used to like to talk, it’s like I’m used to like, opening up, and just talking.”
A native of Pontiac, Michigan, Jackson will now be heading back home for his senior season of high school at Waterford Mott High School in Waterford, Michigan. When asked why he decided to go back home and finish out his last high school season closer to home, he replied, “It’s a normal high school where I live at out in Michigan, I’m just looking to get better, just grind. Like family, that’s a big thing [for me]. It’s like family [over there]. So being back home is really helping me.”
On the subject of the basketball culture in Michigan, which like other parts of the country, have lost their top high school talents to prep schools around the nation, he added: “It’s cool, it’s all about getting to the next level, and I feel like me being back in Michigan, I can do that, just being back at home, grinding, every day.”
Due to his play, he is one of the most sought-after prospects in the nation. At the present time, he holds offers from schools such as Arkansas, Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Illinois, Georgetown, Louisville, Memphis, Syracuse, UConn, USC, Xavier, Iowa and the local school, Michigan State.
On the recruitment end, he replied, “It’s going good, everybody’s calling me, texting me, everything, so I’m just taking my time, deciding.”
On the subject of Michigan State and the recruiting pitch that they have made to him, he replied, “They want me to come in and play, they already know how I play. Tom Izzo has been watching me since I was in ninth grade, so he just said, ‘come to campus and just play.”
When asked about what a school would have to do to land his services, he replied, “I just have to feel comfortable, I have to go there and have a team that I can go [to] and hopefully win a national championship and just get better.”
During the week of the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Jackson and the other campers were under the tutelage of NBA players past and present and learned the tricks of the trade on the court and also lessons about life off the court.
When asked about what he learned from the pros, he replied, “Being around pros, helps anybody, like, talking to them about anything, like how the game is, like the competitiveness, the outside of it.”
When talking about his overall game, he added: “First of all, I gotta get in shape, that’s a big key in my game. Handling the ball and dribbling, everything.”
This spring and summer, he averaged 10.9 points and six rebounds per game for The Family Detroit on the Nike EYBL circuit. Now that he’s in his senior season and back in his home state, there’s nothing left for Isaiah Jackson to do but hit the ceiling and stand out and be the man. Once he does that, the state of Michigan will be in a frenzy. And if he continues to improve his game, in two years, his name will be called by Adam Silver on Draft Night in June 2022 in New York City. But right now, time will tell where his talents will take him. At this point, it’s all about the grind.