By: Charles Ranspach
Oh December…the holiday cheer is in the air! City sidewalks, busy sidewalks…. and basketball is, well, pretty boring.
There is nothing worse than the stretch between high profile non-conference tournament games and conference play (we won’t talk about the scare at Rutgers ;))
What better time to think about our best players leaving.
There are most likely three players leaving in the draft next year.
Jaren Jackson JR. Will be the first one covered.
The stretch 4 ability is key:
With the NBA game the way it is now, Jackson’s ability to shoot behind the arc will be coveted.
He also has no fear in shooting the shot when given. Along with his shot, he can put it on the deck and drive it to the basket. He has shown this year that he can get a guy in the air and drive past them (yes, I know he has turned the ball over when doing this, but that’s teachable). He is an athletic freak in most aspects and the potential on the offensive end is incredible. hey, it even seems to translate to the free throw line too! NBA teams can be assured that the “hack a jacks” strategy won’t be one that opposing teams use.
If there is potential in JJJ’s offense, he has shown that his defense is no Joke. Jackson’s length is insane. He is averaging 3 blocks a game and seems to shut down his matchup every time they touch the ball. There are not many players that he will be against that have his length and athleticism (college or pro).
Along with guarding on the block, he can run the floor and shut down transition offense (shown tonight after he commuted a turnover.) it seems like JJJ alters every shot and I can promise you that NBA scouts love that.
JJJ still has freshman issues, bad fouls and turnovers are the most common ones. But again, it’s stuff that can be coached out of a player.
As a fan I want Jackson to stay, but realistically I can see his potential. In a one-and-done era I don’t see Jackson staying seeing as he is projected to be a 7-10 pick and that is only in December. Once he starts putting up double doubles every night and the potential of big money is on the line, Jackson will leave. But maybe Bridges changed the culture, we can only wait and find out.