South Carolina basketball had a tough 2022-2023 season. The Gamecocks tied their all-time record for most losses in a single season with 21 defeats, and some locker room issues were major storylines for a period. However, as the season came to its end, Lamont Paris’ team fixed their chemistry issues and played better a better and more competitive brand of basketball.
One player who was at the center of all things Gamecocks basketball during the 2022-2023 season (the good, the bad, and the ugly) was GG Jackson. Having graduated high school early, Jackson battled his own immaturity at times but was a much more team-oriented star by the time his Carolina career ended. Most suspected Jackson would be a “one-and-done” because of his strong NBA draft stock, and the Columbia native confirmed these thoughts with his March NBA Draft announcement.
Earlier this week, Jackson received his official invite to the 2023 NBA Draft Combine.
Jackson has been mocked anywhere from the top-10 to the late first round of the 2023 NBA Draft, however, he seems most likely to be taken at the back-end of the Lottery (first 14 picks) or just following the Lottery.
As a prospect, Jackson has a lot going for him. At 6’9” and just over 200 pounds, his size is ideal for a combo forward in the NBA. His above-average athleticism and 6’11” wingspan will make him a matchup problem for most NBA players. He was a good shooter at Carolina who showed flashes of great shooting and a solid shooting form. Jackson is also a “tough shot maker” who can knock down off-balance jumpers in traffic better than most young players.
Speaking of young players, Jackson’s age is one of his biggest selling points to NBA scouts. At 18 years-old, he is the youngest player in the draft and will finish his rookie contract at the same age as college graduates finish their rookie season in the league. He is so young that his “mold-ability” and physical development may look like an almost clean slate to NBA coaches. Partnering that with his natural ability as an athlete and offensive player, and he is one of the most intriguing players on this year’s draft.
All-in-all, GG Jackson has all the ability in the world to be a very good pro. He is somewhat of a polarizing prospect due to the issues that came up during his one season in Columbia, but there are plenty (including his head coach he clashed with at times) who vouch for his character and believe he has learned and grown a lot over the last year.
Regardless of where he is taken, Jackson will be a developmental prospect who has the opportunity to be the best NBA Gamecock since Alex English dominated the 1980s, and South Carolina basketball fans will be tuned in to see if he can pull it off.