• Isaiah Jackson is a lanky forward with an impressive combination of size and athleticism who carved out a role as a freshman at Kentucky thanks to his defensive prowess but made notable strides offensively as the year went on. Widely regarded as one of the top-25 prospects in the high school class of 2020 following his senior year at Waterford Mott High School (MI), Jackson headed to Kentucky to play for Head Coach Jon Calipari. Averaging 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per-game, Jackson saw his role expand late in the year in route to All-SEC Defensive Team and Rookie Team honors.
• Listed at 6’11 with a skinny 206-pound frame and a 7’2.5 wingspan, Jackson has good size for a power forward and the potential to see more time at the center position as he gets stronger. An effortless athlete, Jackson covers ground like few big men in this draft and is very quick off his feet.
• Emerging as an instant contributor, Jackson saw his role shift late in his freshman year as he got an opportunity to serve as Kentucky’s top offensive option as they searched for answers offensively down the stretch. Making an impact with his energy and athleticism on the glass and as a lob threat off the ball, he began to see more opportunities to create his own shot over the last month and a half of the season. Still early in his development in many ways offensively lacking much in the way of polish, vision, and jump shooting ability, Jackson nonetheless was able to use his athleticism to his advantage attacking one-on-one late in the year.
• Possessing tremendous timing as a rim protector and fluidity sliding on the perimeter, Jackson had some eye-opening moments with his competitiveness defensively last season. While he lacks a degree of physical strength and struggled with foul trouble for stretches, he ranked among the top per-minute shot blockers in college basketball and more than held his own switching on the perimeter.
• A lanky, explosive finisher, Jackson did his best work around the rim last season even if he still has some room to improve his touch. Averaging 1.35 points per shot around the rim in the half court [83rd percentile], he showed the ability to finish lobs, a willingness to embrace physicality, and tremendous fluidity in space last season.
• While many of his possessions came on catch and finish opportunities early, Jackson saw more chances to create as the season wore on with almost a third of his possessions coming in one-on-one situations on the year overall. Scoring 0.85 points per one-on-one possession [60th percentile], Jackson is not the most skilled big man, but his combination of assertiveness getting downhill, athleticism, and free throw shooting ability made him a pretty steady option nonetheless. Doing much of his damage facing up, jabbing, and using his quickness to create angles, Jackson also displayed some mid-range shooting ability, touch on his hook shot, and even some budding footwork. He has room to mature as a decision-maker and passer, but was more effective looking to exploit mismatches than one would expect from a freshman learning on the job.
• Scoring 0.42 points per jump shot [4th percentile] in limited attempts, Jackson’s mechanics were far more consistent at the foul line than from the field this season. His ability to grow into a more capable shot-maker could add an interesting dimension to his game.
• Possessing a terrific combination of length and quickness off his feet, Jackson altered shots prolifically as a freshman, frequently challenging multiple shots on the same possession. His energy played against him in spots as he fouled out of a half dozen games last season, but it also made him one of the most valuable defenders in the SEC.
• Lacking a degree of physicality against more traditional centers but faring well guarding one-on-one on the perimeter, Jackson allowed 0.72 points per one-on-one possession [67th percentile] overall as he has the feet and size to grow into a versatile stopper as his frame matures.
— Profile by Synergy Sports