Yesterday evening, five star prospect, from the class of 2014, Justin Jackson boarded a plane to come to Chapel Hill for his official visit to North Carolina. Jackson is a long 6-8 small forward that currently sits at number 14 on ESPN’s recruiting board and is being targeted by top programs such as Arizona, Ohio State, Virginia, Washington, and Texas A&M among others. It’s long been perceived among experts, that UNC however, was the favorite to land the young player out of Spring, TX.
Jackson has always been a fan of North Carolina ever since he attended youth basketball camps in Chapel Hill as a kid and was present for Late Night with Roy before the season so it was never really a shock to anyone that the Tar Heels have been a fixture on his list from the very beginning. With the anticipation that there will be a lack of wing players on the Tar Heel roster in 2014, it’s very important for Roy Williams that Jackson commits to UNC. It’s a widely thought opinion that current freshman JP Tokoto will be the only current Tar Heel on the roster that can play out on the perimeter by the time Jackson would be eligible to arrive on campus. This of course would fulfill the notion that PJ Hairston, who would a senior in 2014 if he stayed, would leave early to go pro. Needless to say, if this all played out, Jackson would be a much welcomed addition to the Tar Heel perimeter that will desperately need some depth.
A big selling point for guys like Jackson to consider is that he will be playing with quality point guards that can get him the ball in good positions to score. Fortunately for Jackson, if he chooses to come to UNC, he’ll have three. When Joel Berry committed to UNC back in January, it showed every big wing prospect that had UNC on their radar, that the Tar Heels were going to be running an effective offense for years to come. Berry and Jackson have a friendship outside of basketball which certainly could play into his decision and couple that with the fact that his friend would be able to facilitate the offense that would allow him to score, it’s a big factor.
Jackon’s game reminds me of Joe Forte’s. Jackson is of course several inches taller, but his ability to finish around the rim and in transition is very similar and Jackson has a mid range game that is almost uncanny. Win Jackson gets in the lane, he has a soft touch and show great control on floaters and pull up jumpers that have become his signature of sorts. His accuracy 15-17 feet from the basket is most certainly a weapon that has been lost amongst Tar Heel wings for years now. Wayne Ellington had great ability to hit those shots in his day, but he was more of a threat from the outside. Jackson has enough range to hit three pointers, but he is most effective inside the arc.
Every source around the program has been hinting that Jackson is a silent commit for UNC and Roy Williams should have good news from him over the course of the weekend or shortly after. It’s safe to say that Jackson would be an important get for the 2014 class and would give the team much needed depth on the perimeter.