South Carolina Basketball: Former Gamecock goes OFF, makes NBA history again

South Carolina basketball alum GG Jackson went off on Sunday against the Denver Nuggets, making NBA history in the process.
South Carolina basketball alum GG Jackson
South Carolina basketball alum GG Jackson / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball fans who watch the NBA have gotten to witness something special this season.

Former Gamecock and Columbia-area native GG Jackson was the youngest player in the NBA when he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2023 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies, and since that point in time, he has shown the world that he is capable of tremendous things on the basketball court.

Jackson was on a two-way contract (meaning he was able to play both for the Memphis Grizzlies and their G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle), but after a couple of months, it became apparent to the Memphis front office that he belonged with the Grizz.

While playing without star guards Ja Morant and Desmond Bane for much of the season, Memphis has struggled, but Jackson has blossomed into one of the best young players in the league with the extra opportunities on the court.

Earlier this season, he became the 4th-youngest player ever to score 20 points off the bench (trailing only Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neil). Then, he became the 2nd-youngest player to score 20 points in back-to-back games (behind only LeBron James). He has averaged nearly 20 points per game since becoming a regular in the rotation back in the middle of January.

On Sunday, Jackson set a new career-high in scoring and made a little more NBA history. Playing against the defending champion Denver Nuggets, Jackson dropped 44 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, had 2 steals, dished out 1 assist, and blocked a shot. The big showing made Jackson the 2nd-youngest player ever to score 30 points in back-to-back games and the 2nd-youngest ever to score 40 points in one game (trailing only LeBron James for both NBA records).

The 44 points are the most he's scored in a game since high school, the 12 rebounds tie his NBA career-high, and it marks the 18th game in a row in which he has scored at least 10 points (he's eclipsed 30 points four times during that span). It was also his second career double-double.

Jackson has already earned a long-term contract with the Grizzlies (since he was a 2nd round pick, he was eligible for a new deal instead of the rookie scale contracts that 1st rounders get), but he is making a case for himself to be a starter or at least a very valuable bench piece on a healthy Memphis squad next season.

With Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Marcus Smart coming back, the young combo forward will have more help than he has had this season, and the Grizzlies will be a real player in a loaded Western Conference.

You can watch highlights from GG Jackson's career day below.

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