The Bruins continue to make early pushes on the top rising juniors in the nation, now going after one of the most highly-touted members of the entire class.
UCLA men’s basketball has sent a scholarship offer to class of 2024 shooting guard Ian Jackson, The Circuit’s Alex Karamanos reported Friday morning. The athletic 6-foot-4 Cardinal Hayes (NY) product is also sitting on offers from UConn, Kansas State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Bryant.
Jackson was named a Sophomore All-American by MaxPreps on Thursday, capping off a campaign in which he led the Cardinals to a 26-3 record and CHSAA Class AA state title.
Jackson averaged 19.8 points, five rebounds and four assists per game this season, also picking up MaxPreps’ National Sophomore of the Year award. Past winners of the honor include Andrew Wiggins, Jayson Tatum, Romeo Langford, RJ Barrett, Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga and Emoni Bates.
247Sports, Rivals and ESPN all have Jackson as a five-star prospect and top-five recruit in his class, with ESPN coming in the lowest on him with a No. 4 ranking. The industry standard 247Sports Composite has Jackson as the No. 2 player in his entire class, in addition to him being the No. 1 shooting guard and No. 1 player in New York.
UCLA just offered Jackson’s former AAU teammate Tahaad Pettiford on Tuesday, as the two both played for the New Heights Lightning in the past. The program has produced several high major and NBA talents in recent years, including former Oregon guard and current Indiana Pacers rookie Chris Duarte.
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Jackson has moved on to The Wiz Kids, though, so instead of playing in Orlando at the Nike EYBL earlier this month, he appeared at the adidas 3SSB camp in Indianapolis where assistant coach Rod Palmer was in attendance.
Coach Mick Cronin and his staff may not have any commits for the class of 2023, but they are reaching for all the biggest stars in 2024 regardless. With Jackson now hauling in an offer, that makes seven given out to that class so far, five of which have gone to consensus five-star recruits. Between Jackson, small forward Naas Cunningham and shooting guard Vyctorious Miller, the Bruins have offered three of the top-four players in the nation.
UCLA will have an almost entirely new-look roster by the time 2023 rolls around, let alone 2024. By that point, forward / center Mac Etienne, shooting guard Will McClendon and point guard Dylan Andrews might be the only familiar faces left hanging around in Westwood, so there will be a void ready to be filled by stars.
Cronin has only had one player leave early for the NBA Draft across his three seasons as the Bruins’ head coach, and that only happened at the end of his third campaign when guard / forward Peyton Watson decided to go one-and-done. Guard Amari Bailey is a near-lock to do the same next year, with center Adem Bona being a prime candidate as well, and any combination of Jackson, Cunningham, Miller or Pettiford could follow that same path.
The highly-ranked one-and-done prospects were a staple of both Ben Howland and Steve Alford eras, and it appears Cronin is beginning to wade into those waters as well.
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