Things were a bit strange for GG Jackson in his one year as a member of the South Carolina basketball program. The season didn't go well from a team perspective, and Jackson saw his draft stock dip. However, no one ever questioned the forward's talent.
The experience helped Jackson grow as a person, and after being taken in the 2nd round of the 2023 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies and starting this year with the G-League Memphis Hustle, he went to work. That work is starting to pay off as GG Jackson had his first big-time performance with the Grizzlies on Saturday night against the New York Knicks.
Jackson played a career-high 27 minutes for the Grizz, and he made the most of it, scoring 20 points, snatching 6 rebounds, blocking 2 shots, and dishing out an assist. He went an efficient 9-14 from the field, including 2-4 from behind the 3-point arc. His 20 points and 2 blocks led the Grizzlies, and he was the only player on the team to finish the game with a positive +/-.
Jackson's 20-point outburst made him the youngest player in over two years to score 20 points in an NBA game. He also became the 4th-youngest player in NBA history to score 20 points off the bench, joining Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and Jermaine O'Neal. He is the youngest player to score 20 and pull down 5 rebounds in a game since Andrew Bynum in 2006, and he is the 2nd-youngest player to ever score 20 with 5 rebounds and 2 3-pointers, trailing only LeBron James. Before Saturday, the Grizzlies have never had a player as young as Jackson score in double-figures.
The biggest highlight reel moment of Jackson's night came near the end of the 1st half. The former South Carolina basketball star went streaking down the court in transition, and Vince Williams, Jr. noticed him. Williams threw up a near-halfcourt lob that Jackson caught out in front of the rim and powered it down with a reverse flush that got the home crowd in Memphis on their feet.
You can watch a longer collection of his highlights from the game below, including two more dunks and one of his two blocks on All-Star Julius Randle.