Could Jaren Jackson become the best all-around players in the 2018 NBA Draft? Sounds a bit silly, but the 6-foot-11, 240-pound freshman from Michigan State has risen up draft boards all season long. Jackson grew up watching his father Jaren Jackson Sr. play in the NBA for 12 years. Watching his father play inspired Jackson to want to be like his father and play in the NBA one day.
So how has Jackson gotten to this point in life? Let’s take a look.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Full Name: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Birthdate: September 15th, 1999
Birth Place: Plainfield, New Jersey
Team: Michigan St/ NCAA
While growing up, Jackson moved all over the place because his father was playing in the NBA and played for multiple teams. It was not until eighth grade that Jackson and his family finally settled down and stayed in Indianapolis. Jackson was the new kid in town and found it hard to make friends at first. He started playing basketball at the age of seven and continued to progress his game from a young age. When arriving in Indianapolis, playing basketball was his way of trying to meet new people by playing a game he loved.
Jackson started his high school career with Park Tudor School for three years. The summer after his sophomore year of high school was when college coaches started to take notice of who Jaren Jackson was. He went with his AAU team to a tournament out in Las Vegas and there is where people began to take notice. From the stands after his teams first game he could hear a coach pointing at him and saying, “I’m gonna offer him a scholarship.”
Hearing those words from one college coach motivated Jackson Jr. to earn more offers from other coaches around the country.
Jackson transferred to La Lumiere School for his senior year where he went on to be a McDonald’s All-American and a Naismith High School All-America honorable mention. He went on to choose to play for Coach, Tom Izzo, and the Michigan State Spartans for his college basketball career.
Jackson Jr. only played one season at Michigan State but did he ever use that season effectively to help his draft stock. Jackson Jr. averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and three blocks in only 22 minutes of play per game. He would have been on the floor more but Jackson Jr. was prone to getting into some foul trouble most games. Jackson Jr. was named Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. He was also named to the All-Big Ten’s Third Team.
Jackson scored his career-high 27 points in an 87-57 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers on February 13.
NBA Draft Projection
Jackson Jr. is projected to be a top 5 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. With his size and great mobility, teams are excited to see if Jackson Jr. will reach his potential in the league. Teams are really excited about his rim-protecting skills that he displayed while playing in college. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he did shoot 39.6 percent from three and he has the ability to use both hands around the rim.
Jackson is a little less NBA ready like some of his other peers in the top part of the draft, but his overall outlook is very positive as he will get stronger and matures at the NBA level.