By Nico Fiscella
The Spalding Hoophall Classic is no stranger to media-breaking content. From rim-shaking dunks to buzzer beaters, the birthplace of basketball is familiar with it all. However, the line of media members sitting courtside will turn their attention to North Carolina, as Class of 2024 standout Ian Jackson announced that’s where he will be taking his talents during halftime of the Montverde Academy (FL) and Sunrise Christian School (KS) on ESPNU on Monday.
Before announcing his commitment, Ian Jackson and Cardinal Hayes High School (NY) faced off against Imhotep Charter School (PA) Sunday, showcasing his talents in front of the coaches hoping to see him in their uniform come 2024.
In a game that Jackson would not call his best, he stuffed the box score with 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Jackson, standing at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, has a wide skill set that any team would be lucky to obtain. The fleet-footed guard has the wingspan to add consistent pressure to ball handlers and keep all opposing shots away from falling through the net. Dribbling the ball up the court, defenders struggle to read Jackson, as his prolific playmaking and lockdown shooting control a fire-powered Cardinals offense.
After a three-point loss to the Panthers, media swarmed Jackson, attempting to unravel the puzzle of where he will be taking his talents. With his decision finally settled, Jackson does not take his opportunity for granted, and believes his performance at the 2023 Spalding Hoophall Classic shows that the junior guard still has much to learn before going to the next level.
“I won’t say it will affect it at all,” Jackson said. “There is a lot of work to still be done, me committing doesn’t guarantee anything ﹣ definitely more to be done after tonight.”
With a visit to Arkansas as recently as Jan. 11, Jackson has finalized his list of possible schools to Arkansas, UNC, Kentucky, Oregon, and LSU. When asked about what he has valued most in his decision making process, Jackson focused on how these teams can help him continue to grow his game.
“[I] talked with my parents and coaches about the pros and cons of each school. Thinking about each school individually,” Jackson said. “Majority of them come down to coaching. All programs have great coaching and a history of putting kids in the league.”
After deciding where his future will be last week, Jackson has done his best to keep his secret before announcing it on ESPNU.
“Happy with it, I feel like it’s a moment in every basketball player’s career they look forward to,” Jackson said.“I feel like up to this point, I am content with my decision. I evaluated every single one thoroughly. Where I picked, it would be the best for me individually,” Jackson said.
The ESPN 100 No. 2 recruit still has time before suiting up for North Carolina, but both Jackson and the Carolina nation cannot wait to see the New York Product hit the floor in Chapel Hill.
Photo: Nico Fiscella/The Springfield Student