Five-Star Forward GG Jackson Commits to Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC — Wednesday’s announcement was well worth the wait for Hubert Davis and the UNC staff.

More than 10 months after receiving a scholarship offer from North Carolina, consensus top-10 prospect GG Jackson Announces his commitment to Carolina during an afternoon event at Columbia (SC) Ridge View High School.

Rated the No. 8 player in the junior class by the 247Sports staff (with the expectation he’ll move even higher at the next rankings update), is the highest-ranked commitment of the Davis era, and joins five-star New Jersey guard Simeon Wilcher on UNC’s 2023 commitment list. Jackson is North Carolina’s first top 10 commitment since Caleb Love in 2020.

Jackson chose the Tar Heels over finalists Auburn, Duke, Georgetown, and South Carolina, as well as interest from the NBA’s G-League. Jackson also had offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, Kansas, LSU, Louisville, Maryland, Ole Miss, Oregon, Syracuse, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.

“They have shown from the start that they want me most,” Jackson said of the Tar Heels. “They also show that I’m a top priority for their program. That’s really big to me. Just about every coach recruits from there. I talk to Sean May A lot, definitely Hubert Davis, and Jeff LeboGeneral Chat Chat Lounge They say they’ll put me in the right spot to get to the NBA. Also, the family atmosphere sticks out. “

Jackson slots as a hybrid forward – a player capable of playing offensively and defensively in the post and on the perimeter – in Davis’ system. During his trips to Chapel Hill, including UNC’s regular-season loss to Duke, Jackson watched forwards Brady Manek and Leaky Black to make a preview of his role at Carolina.

“I definitely like the playing style they run, a lot,” Jackson told Inside CarolinaGeneral Chat Chat Lounge “In my opinion, it’s a lot like what we do with (Nike EYBL) CP3, kind of a 4-out, 1-in with a lot of motion, a lot of swings, a lot of backdoor cuts. I feel like Would thrive there, especially like a guy that can take guys off the dribble. I feel like I would shoot the ball more than what Leaky does, but I think I can come off screens and take guys off the dribble, too. “

Four days before Carolina’s win over Duke in the national semifinals, Davis took a brief respite from all things NCAA tournament. Alongside assistant coach Jeff Lebo, Davis flew down to Columbia (SC) Ridge View to visit Jackson and his family. College coaches get seven off-campus trips to see a specific recruit per scholastic year, and the visit was UNC’s final one to see in Jackson.

GG Jackson (Photo: Nike EYBL / Jon Lopez)

“That was nuts,” Jackson said after the visit. “I’m thinking, ‘They have to get locked in for the game.’ That just goes to show you have the confidence they have, and the confidence they have in their players. I felt really special. It opened my eyes to how much they wanted me, as a school. “

Jackson, who grew up a Tar Heels fan and called UNC his “dream school,” has been a top priority for the North Carolina staff since Davis became head coach nearly 13 months ago. He picked up a UNC offer on the first day, June 15, sophomores could receive direct communication from coaches. Two weeks following the UNC offer, he and his family took an unofficial visit to UNC.

“Me and my dad and the whole family were just amazed,” Jackson said following a visit last June. “… Walking onto the Smith Center floor and being in the arena, it was a crazy experience. Growing up you see the nice stuff on TV, but getting to see it in person has a completely different feeling. It was amazing … “

Communication between Jackson and UNC remained constant throughout the summer – the Tar Heel coaches watched him widely during each grassroots and scholastic period and fall.

UNC sent three staff members – Davis, and assistant coaches Jeff Lebo (his lead recruiter) and Brad Frederick – to Ridge View on Sept. 9, the first morning of the fall evaluation period. The following month, Jackson took an official visit to Chapel Hill – his first – which gave him a courtesy seat for the Davis era at ‘Late Night.’

Jackson’s play on the traveling circuit last year propelled him into elite status, which he validated during his junior season.

“GG ​​Jackson has developed itself into a mismatch nightmare at the ‘4’ position,” said Travis Branham of 247Sports. “He possesses good size for the position and has a frame that will continue to fill out, further improving his effectiveness within. Jackson built a strong foundation with his inside game and consistently expanded his skillset farther away from the rim over the past. year.

“He is an outstanding athlete who runs the floor with ease, moves well laterally on the perimeter, and is quick and bouncy off his feet. He excels as a rim-runner, shot-blocker, rebounder and defender but he impacts the game. He has great hands and touch, can bruise and scores with a variety of moves in the low-post, and can now step out and knock down jumpers or attack his man off the bounce. The post player, he can pass and make shots off the catch and pull, his versatility on both ends of the floor to his ability to play inside and out. All of that will make him a valuable weapon for Hubert Davis moving forward.

“Few bigs who can battle Jackson’s physicality have his athleticism on the perimeter when attacking off the dribble and few people have enough athleticism to keep him on the low-block. Jackson is still learning the balance of his game. The offensive end as he fell in love with the perimeter, but he has a lot of potential as a high impact guy on both ends of the floor at North Carolina and beyond.

During his junior season, Jackson brought home the accolade after the accolade. He Averaged 22.1 points and 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game, leading Ridge to its first Class 5A state title, and was named South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year.

“(There’s a) realization that (my teammates) know I can stretch the floor now,” he said. “I’m more comfortable shooting the ball (this year). I feel like I’m rebounding more aggressively. My motor keeps rising every year, that ‘s the biggest thing. “

UNC has now received commitments from South Carolina’s top player four times in the last decade – Brice Johnson (2012), Seventh Woods (2016), Jalek Felton (2017), and Jackson. In that same span, UNC is the top player in North Carolina only twice (Isaiah Hicks in 2013 and Theo Pinson in 2014).

Since completing his junior high school season, Jackson’s been playing on the EYBL travel circuit with team CP3, averaging 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds through the first two weekends of action, as CP3 has posted a 7-1 record. The 247Sports staff has repeatedly noted that he is “in the conversation” for the No. 1 overall ranking in the class when the updated rankings are released in the coming weeks.

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