When talking about the 2020-21 Kentucky basketball roster, the three immediate names analysts and experts bring up as instant-impact players are BJ Boston, Terrence Clarke, and Olivier Sarr. With Boston and Clarke coming in as consensus top-ten high school recruits and Sarr being seen as arguably the top transfer prospect in all of college basketball this offseason, the attention is justified.
But today, college basketball insider Jon Rothstein threw a brand new name into the fold, and it’s one that should get fans excited for the upcoming season.
According to the CBS Sports expert, five-star freshman Isaiah Jackson is turning heads in practice and will have a “big role” in Lexington this season with or without Sarr.
“Well embedded moles in Lexington continue to highlight Kentucky freshman Isaiah Jackson,” he said. “Going to have a big role for the Wildcats, regardless of whether or not Olivier Sarr is eligible.”
Well embedded moles in Lexington continue to highlight Kentucky freshman Isaiah Jackson. Going to have a big role for the Wildcats, regardless of whether or not Olivier Sarr is eligible.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 20, 2020
Mind you, Rothstein is the same person to rave about Immanuel Quickley leading up to the season last year before the sophomore guard averaged 16.1 points on 42.8% shooting from three en route to SEC Player of the Year and All-SEC First Team honors.
Well embedded moles in Lexington raved about the progress made by Immanuel Quickley this summer. Is Kentucky's top returning three-point shooter (34.5%). #BBN
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 3, 2019
And the summer before, Rothstein singled out Tyler Herro as a difference-maker on the 2018-19 Wildcats, predicting Kentucky fans would “fall in love” with the four-star guard and that he will “completely change” UK’s spacing.
Lexington is going to fall in love with Tyler Herro. Tremendous IQ and feel for the game. Uses shot fakes. Will completely change Kentucky's spacing. #BBN
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 1, 2018
Rothstein is two for two on preseason predictions for Kentucky. Will Jackson make a significant impact in year one to make to make it three for three?
It’s certainly possible, as UK assistant Bruiser Flint said just yesterday that “the sky’s the limit” for the 6-foot-10 forward, highlighting his shot-blocking and rebounding abilities.
“I mean, you do what you do best, and what he does is rebounds and blocks shots,” Flint said. “I think he has a little bit of ways to go with his offense, but I think he’ll continue to get better because he works at it. Great athlete. I remember watching him as a high school player, always played with great energy, but I didn’t think he was a layup maker or a finisher around the basket, but he’s getting a lot better at that. He’s doing what he does well, which is block shots and rebounds the ball. Unbelievable lift, so I think he will be a really, not a good defensive player, a really good defensive player. He’s got great feet. I think the sky’s the limit for him, I think he got a chance to to be pretty good, but he’s a work in progress offensively. I think he shoots the ball a little bit better than I thought he did as a high school player. I think got chance to be really, really good.”
Interesting. Very, very interesting.
While we prepare for Jackson’s debut in Lexington, check out some of his impressive senior highlights below: