2014 point forward Isaiah Jackson commits to George Mason

George Mason got a commitment last night to complete their 2014 recruiting class. 6’6″ Isaiah Jackson (Gainesville, FL) committed to the Patriots and he’s been listed anywhere from point guard to power forward on recruiting sites. The last reports from ESPN’s recruiting site labels him a “point forward”, which seems to make more sense than the staff merely adding another forward prospect. Most are referring to him as a point guard and Mason certainly could use another option at position.

Here is ESPN’s scouting report on him:

Strengths:
Jackson is an athletic and skilled wing that can make plays with the ball in his hands like a point forward. He can get teammates involved with his advance passing on the break and as he penetrates, drives draw and kicks as he attacks the lane. Jackson can finish at the rim with good strength, touch and body control and has a nice mid range pull up jumper. He can rebound and lead the break and make good decision with the ball as well.

Weaknesses:
Jackson is in the process of recovering from a leg injury so his explosiveness is not where it should be yet. Also he must work to stay in ganged in the game and work to be a consistent performer in which he is very capable.

Bottom Line:
Jackson has the size and skill to be a very good college wing that possesses great play making potential. He will have to get fully healthy and continue to work on be consistent and at that point his game will take off.

The part about him recovering from a leg injury may be why he is not rated that high and still available at this point in the recruiting process. He could be a kid who was always a point guard and recently went through a growth spurt. Paul Hewitt has a history of recruiting point guards with size and they really are in need of the type of player that can guy and also get others involved.

He is more on him and his leg injury from the local media in Gainesville (March 2013):

Credentials

Runner-up as the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 6A Player of the Year, the 6-foot-6 junior led the Hurricanes to Lakeland and the state tournament after pulling off back-to-back upset wins in the state playoffs. In its 74-66 upset at No. 2 Leesburg in the regional semifinals, Jackson scored a season-high 38 points, hitting on 24 of 28 free throws, to avenge a 32-point loss (91-59) to the Yellow Jackets in the district final. Four days later in Orlando, Jackson hit two free throws with nine second left to lift the ‘Canes over No. 1 Edgewater, 56-55, for a spot in the state semifinals. For the season, he averaged team-bests in points (15.4), rebounds (7.7) and assists (5.4) per game, and had a triple-double in a 22-point win over Lakeland McKeel Academy.

Personal notes

A year ago, 18 games into the season, Jackson took a nasty fall going up for a shot at Buchholz and broke his right leg. It was a huge loss for the Hurricanes and the first major injury for the promising sophomore. “Part of the hurdle he had to get over was the mental issue going through that and all the physical rehabilitation,” said GHS coach Kelly Beckham. “By the time we hit the playoffs, he was really close to 100 percent.”

So the leg injury was a while ago, however the ESPN report listed above is from June 2013 and it says he’s not where he should be yet. Something to keep an eye on, hopefully it is more of a mental issue at this point.

From Zagsblog:

“He plays point guard here for us, but he can really develop into a guy who can multiple positions,” head coach David Krakoff told SNY.tv. “He can probably play 1-4 when he’s done developing.

“He has a really long wingspan. He’s a great passer, has great vision, creates a lot of offense for his team. He can score, he can post, he can knock down the jump shot. He can slash into the paint. He can defend multiple positions. That’s his best attribute.”

Jackson appears to fill a need though as a scorer and another ball handler in the backcourt. He essentially is a wing who can also probably run the point as a sort of point forward role. Here is ESPN’s staff describing him at an AAU event this past July: “he can slash and score or pass, he can knock down the open 3 and he can elevate in the lane for the midrange pull-up”. Someone who can hit mid-range jumpers? That would be nice.

Insert the “I hope he turns out like Luke Hancock!” comments now.

  • StopWearingPurple

    What on earth is a “point forward”? Oh, its term from ESPN? Carry on.

    • gmuhoops

      It’s not an ESPN term, many in the basketball world use it. They referred to Luke Hancock as one when he was here.

    • mkaufman1

      Essentially its the guy who is a “3” in terms of position and size (generally 6’4-6’6), but is known for being able to run an offense, bring the ball up court, pass well etc. I’m hoping he can be a point forward, but also can score, since the team needs that going forward.

      • GMU2008

        I think that sums it up the best. Don’t think the kid is going to walk in and instantly run the point for us but might be able to down the line who knows.

  • Adam

    I’m on board with anyone who can make intelligent decisions with the ball and competently run an offense. We haven’t had that for 3 or 4 years, and our record reflects that. I’ve always hoped we’d find a PG with NBA size, simply to see how that’d change our approach and team dynamic. A PG with that type of size would make us a size mismatch for most teams. Should be interesting to see how this plays out. If he can drive the lane and (intelligently) kick the ball out if he doesn’t have the shot, that’s a dangerous player…

  • G-n-G

    Sounds as though he’s a bit in the mold of Syracuse/Sixers star Michael Carter-Williams. What impresses me most from the news story was him hitting 24/28 free throws. If you’re practicing enough to do that as a high schooler then there’s a good expectation he’d continue that drive and focus as a college player. Overall seems like a nice “get” for Mason. This is shaping up to be a long, rangy team.

    • DiamondbackRuss

      Jackson’s FT shooting can be streaky. I’ve been to games where he’s hit 9-9 or 8-10. And I’ve been to games where he’s gone 1-4, 4-7 and 3-6

      • David Houck

        Appreciate the insight!

  • Grad03

    With how bad this team is closing out games anyone who has experience making good decisions running the offense is a blessing

  • gamoo79

    New term for me too. But who cares, as long as he can play and meets our needs. Especially if he can become effective at running the point. And even if he stays a point forward, Moore has shown the potential to maybe grow into a legit force in the PG role.
    Dare we get our hopes up for next year?

  • gamoo79

    Oh, and another thing. As miserable as this season has been so far, remember, we appreciate good times even more after we have suffered through bad.

  • SkinsGMU

    Seems like he has pure scoring ability which this recruiting class needs. A player like him also helps break the press. Agree that Moore is the future at point but he has no jumper what so ever and Hewitt has no faith in Edwards anymore.

    • gamoo79

      Agreed on Moore. But with enough scorers to dish the ball to, its not as much of a problem if he isn’t a scorer.

  • gamoo79

    Anybody know how many “stars” he got?

    • Kyle Stegner

      He is a 2 star recruit. His rating is 69. Injury probably brought him down. Scared away a lot of the major conference schools I guess. His only offers were from Georgia Southern, Middle Tennesee, and George Mason.

      • GMUPATS74

        Stars are just meant to rank a player in accordance with others. Unless its an All-American McDonald’s blue-chip recruit it really doesn’t mean much. Don’t you agree Kyle?

        • Kyle Stegner

          A coach with a good system can make any player play beyond the expected potential predicted/measured by these scouting reports.

      • StopWearingPurple

        I apologize for not remembering the source, but when looked a few days ago GMU’s recruiting class was rated 75th in the country and fourth in the A-10. Second and third were not that far ahead, but VCU was in first and lapping the field with their rating.

        • Kyle Stegner

          That sounds pretty good. With such a good recruiting class in 2014 and a 4 star GT transfer the future looks bright. Hopefully it will cool down the “Fire Hewitt” bandwagon for a while…for now. Next season Hewitt will have a team with mostly his picks only (only 2 left from Coach L). Fans won’t be giving him anymore slack next season if things go wrong. For now just want this season to be over.

    • DiamondbackRuss

      I wouldn’t worry about stars for Jackson. He played mostly for a public HS in Gainesville, FL. Coaches don’t usually come to Gainesville to recruit and when they do it’s not at the public schools. He played AAU for Florida Elite Black, which isn’t a big name program but they did play at the Bob Gibbons T.O.C. in Atlanta. Although they did get to the title game of the 17U Super Showcase in Orlando.

  • GMUPATS74

    I’ve got hope for the Hewitt recruits. What other choice do I have?

  • Kyle Stegner

    I would not compare this guy to Luke Hancock. I agree with G-n-G in that he seems like a Michael Carter Williams kind of player. Look at the recruiting websites. Quite a few major conference schools were interested in him. Florida State, Miami, Florida , Oklahoma State, and Texas. But none of them gave him an offer, the injury must have scared them all away. If he fully recovers from his injury there is a good chance we just got ourselves a good steal.
    I was kind of hoping for a stud SG. But I guess now it will be up to Vaughn Gray to step up and play like a starter next season.

    • DiamondbackRuss

      I doubt the injury scared them away. He played HS ball last year, AAU in spring & summer and is playing HS ball this year. He’s healthy. He’s just not a high-major prospect that’s all. At GMU he’ll play 4 years and get better each year. He’s got a great relationship with Coach Eric Skeeters who had been monitoring Jackson for sometime while he was at USF

  • DiamondbackRuss

    I cover basketball recruiting for the Sscout a lot of HS basketball in Florida,

    • gamoo79

      And…?

      • DiamondbackRuss

        I dropped something on the mouse and it clicked “post” while I was still typing. I completed my post now

        • gamoo79

          Check.

    • gmusigs

      DRuss,

      Thanks for the insight. After watching him, what position is best for him at the college level? Seems like he might have trouble guarding 1s or 2s.

      • DiamondbackRuss

        Please, call me DBR :-)

        At the next level he’s best suited for SF in my opinion

      • StopWearingPurple

        I had the same concern but since I hadn’t heard the term point forward I figured I keep it zipped. I wonder if that means he will be hard to guard on the offensive end (too big for guards and too quick for forwards).

    • G-n-G

      Very on topic for any Mason discussion, how good is he at protecting the ball? Would you call him turnover-prone? Is he more comfortable in the open floor or half-court offense? Aside from the lateral movement issue, how would you rate his defensive skills/fundamentals? Is he the sort of player who likes to take the final shot in game? How would you rate his performance in high-pressure situations?

      Thanks in advance for the insights. The Skeeters connection explains a lot.

  • Chris Hirsch

    Don’t care until he steps on the court for Mason. Recruiting reports mean zilch. Copes, anyone? I want to read a report one time that says well he can’t dribble, pass, shoot, or do much of anything.

    • DiamondbackRuss

      Then why did you click on a thread about a player committing to GMU if you don’t care until he steps on the court for Mason?

      I just offered my insight since I’ve seen the kid play about 8 or 9 times and figured most of the readers of this blog haven’t seen him in person. My eval said he was an “average shooter” and probably doesn’t have the “lateral quickness to guard smaller SG’s”.
      Trust me, I’m not going to exaggerate a kid’s abilities. I recently posted on another D1 team’s fan site that a kid that committed to them is only going to help their GPA and APR, he’s a D3 kid that’s part of a package deal.

      Needless to say they weren’t happy with my eval, but whatever. I keeps it 100.

      • Chris Hirsch

        Because I care about giving my opinion on Mason basketball matters.

        • DiamondbackRuss

          Ok, that kind of contradicts your “Don’t care until he steps on the court for Mason,” sentence but I think I understand where you’re coming from

          • Chris Hirsch

            It really doesn’t and I am not sure why I need your permission to post on a public message board.

          • DiamondbackRuss

            It’s definitely not about permission so don’t make it about something that it is not please. If you don’t think “Don’t care until he steps on the court for Mason” AND “Because I care about giving my opinion on Mason basketball matters” don’t contradict each other then ok. Like I said I think I understand where you’re coming from. I’ll give you the last word because I don’t care to continue the back and forth with you so have a good day & God Bless.

          • David Houck

            Thank you again for the insight.. It is appreciated

      • gamoo79

        Hey DRuss. Appreciate the evaluation. Its interesting to hear what people are saying about all things Mason. If you have anymore updates about Jackson or anybody else, let us know. Thanks!!

        • DiamondbackRuss

          I do know that GMU plans to keep tabs on 6’0, 160 pound 2015 Lake Minneola (FL) PG Avery Brown. His team is expected to reach the final four in the 6A state tournament. He’s a crafty PG with good speed but needs to get much stronger to compete at GMU’s level.

          He has a twin brother, Anthony, and they may want to play together at the next level but to my knowledge they haven’t said that publicly.

  • DiamondbackRuss

    I don’t know if yall discussed it here in a previous thread or not, but Coach Hewitt watched 5-foot-9 class of 2015 PG Jose Morales of Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale) back on Dec. 27th. That was the first time I’d seen Morales with his HS team and I didn’t feel he did a good job of running the offense in the 1st half. Second half he was better, he got to the rim to score or drove and dished. His jump shot wasn’t falling that day.

    There are many that believe he is the 2nd best PG in Florida, I’m not one of those people though.

  • DiamondbackRuss

    I watched Jackson and his Villages Charter team play yesterday against one of the pest prep schools in the state (Potter’s House Christian Academy). PHCA won by 22. Unofficially Jackson had 20 pts on 7-19 FGs (3-11 3FGs) and 3-5 FT’s.

    He started the game making three uncontested 3-pointers in a row. Two of them from NBA range. PHCA started out in a 2-3 zone and didn’t think his range was that deep so their zone didn’t extend that far out but they quickly changed that and Jackson didn’t score again from the floor in the half. He did get to the basket and drew fouls in the 2nd qtr and hit on 3 of 4 of them. PHCA switched to a man defense and was really keying on him and since he wasn’t scoring in the 2nd & 3rd qtr he set up his teammates.

    I spoke to a PHCA assistant after the game and he told me that once they realized The Villages was without 2 starters due to injury, the game plan was to make sure Jackson shot over a hand and that if he scored 20 points he would have to take 20 shots.

    Defensively Jackson played well, his length causes problems in the passing lanes and allows him to guard players that are slightly taller than him.

    Jackson’s team simply had zero answer for the PHCA point guard, Malik Carter who finished with 20 pts, 13 asts, 12 rebs & 3 stls or their 6’10 sophomore C Udoka Azubukie who had 26 pts, 6 rebs & 2 blks (he didn’t score at all in the 1st quarter)