Here are five things to know about Jackson as he kicks off his NBA career.
His dad is an NBA champion
Despite going undrafted in 1989, Jackson’s father, Jaren Jackson, played 13 professional seasons with a ton of different NBA teams. Spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs from 1997 through 2001 and won an NBA championship in 1999.
The elder Jackson has been a coach as well, as an assistant with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the D-League (before it became the G-League), and as a head coach with the Saint John Mill Rats and Ottawa SkyHawks in the National Basketball League of Canada.
He played at two Indiana high school powerhouses
Jackson started his high school career at Park Tudor, school in Indianapolis. He spent three years there and won two Indiana state titles. Park Tudor is known for producing basketball talent, as Yogi Ferrell and Trevon Bluiett both went there as well.
For his senior year, Jackson transferred to La Lumiere in LaPorte, Indiana. La Lumiere is another basketball powerhouse that is consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally.
He’s a versatile, unique talent
Jackson is a shade under 6’10” with a ridiculous 7’5″ wingspan. Despite his size, he can play on the perimeter as well. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in his one collegiate season at Michigan State. He hit 51.3 percent of his shots from the field and 39.6 percent from 3-point range. His 79.7 percent free throw shooting is good sign for his future as a shooter at the next level.
Defense is his calling card right now
Jackson uses his frame to his advantage on the court, specifically on defense. At just a hair under 6’10” and with more than a 7’5″ wingspan, he’s a shot-blocking machine. Jackson averaged 3.15 blocks per game in college and a ridiculous 5.69 blocks per 40 minutes. It’s no surprise he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
He has already made his mark for Team USA
Jackson played for the U.S. under-17 basketball squad and won a gold medal at the 2016 FIBA World Championships. He averaged 4.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He also played for the USA Junior National Select Team at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. He had 13 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench in that game.