UNC basketball: Top impact newcomer for 2014-15 season

unc tar heels

Justin Jackson shoots a jump shot in the McDonald’s All-American Game

This year’s recruiting class for the UNC basketball team has been hyped up a good amount and hopefully the 3 players will be what they are hyped up to be…or better.

According to rivals.com, UNC currently sits at number three in the Class of 2014 team rankings. Their recruiting class is only behind Duke at number one and Kentucky at number two. It’s not surprising to see arguably the top three best college basketball programs of all-time be ranked the top three in recruiting for this year and this upcoming year could be a bright one for the Tar Heels.

Roy Williams is bringing in Justin Jackson, Theo Pinson, and Joel Berry this year, which most fans seem to be happy about. As far as the top newcomer goes for the Heels next season? It’s hard to say at this point, honestly. Things could change in the coming months until basketball season starts.

However, if I had to pick a top impact newcomer for the 2014-15 season it would be…

Justin Jackson.

Yes, he is the eighth best recruit in the country according to ESPN.com ahead of Pinson’s tenth place spot and Berry’s 17th spot. But after his performance in the McDonald’s All-American Game, he stood out to not only me, but to the entire country that saw his performance earn him a spot as co-MVP of the game.

The 6-foot-7, 185-pound Jackson played 23 minutes, which was the second highest amount of minutes played by any player in the game. Only Cliff Alexander, a Kansas signee, played more minutes than Jackson with 25 minutes played. Jackson’s entire stat line was more impressive than Alexander’s and it was good enough to help him earn co-MVP along with Duke signee Jahlil Okafor.

mcd's stat line key Justin Jackson stat line mcd's game

Jackson also recently played in the Jordan Brand Classic and finished with 11 points for the East.

The small forward, who played for Homeschool Christian Youth Association and is from Tomball, Texas, averaged 29.4 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game as a high schooler. Tar Heel fans should be excited bringing in a guy who not only averages nearly 30 points a game, but nearly averages a double-double.

Jackson is an all-around player that could either play small forward or shooting guard. He can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket when he needs to, and he can also pull up for a jumper from nearly anywhere on the court. His game also features a nice mid-range floater. He finds a way to score in whatever way he can.

One of Jackson’s biggest strengths is definitely his midrange and three point shooting, which excites Tar Heel fans. He shot 38% from behind the arc in high school and that’s a number people like to see. Hopefully Jackson will come in next season and add significant help to UNC’s backcourt.

He also will help UNC with depth in their lineup after the Heels struggled with depth by losing PJ Hairston.

He may not start right away for the Tar Heels, but he will provide help off of the bench, and if he plays well enough, I could see him maybe being a part of the starting lineup as the year progresses.

 

Here is a Jackson highlight tape from this past year: