One-and-done isn’t really a thing that has come to East Lansing yet. Deyonta Davis (2016) is just the second Michigan State basketball player in history to declare for the NBA Draft after just his freshman year in school. Zach Randolph was the first, and that was way back in 2001.
Be sure you keep an eye on Jaren Jackson Jr. He’s that kind of rare talent, much closer to being the finished product for the NBA than most kids who come to East Lansing.
Here’s a fun fact, he’s a almost a full year young for his class in school. He really could be a high school senior right now given his age.
Jaren Jackson Jr??? pic.twitter.com/7BK5EWOssg
— SpartanCenter (@spartancenterig) November 11, 2017
Michigan State just doesn’t usually bring in these kind of players; or they don’t develop that quickly. In their program history, they have only had four go pro as sophomores: Garry Harris, Jason Richardson, Marcus Taylor and the legendary Magic Johnson.
After the #2 Spartans lost 88-81 to the top ranked Duke Blue Devils, MSU Coach Tom Izzo was in an extremely foul mood and he didn’t even try to hide it.
The loss dropped Izzo to 1-11 all time against Duke. When asked about Jaren Jackson Jr. specifically he kind of evaded the question a little bit, and instead tended to focus more on how he fits into the team concept, and thus the team’s failings tonight.
Although Izzo did say of “he’s going to be a helluva player,” before adding “he didn’t have enough pep in his step and neither did we.” Izzo pointed out how he had to play him at the five tonight (not his natural position) and that it was a lot to ask of a true freshman, as they run so much of their offense through the middle.
“I probably should have done a better job of decision making,” the Indianapolis, La Lumiere product said after the game.
“We didn’t cut out, I didn’t box out, in any sense. When we don’t box out and corral the rebound, it falls right into their hands, so it was on us.”
At 6-11, 235 Jaren Jackson Jr. has great size to go along with his excellent footwork on the defensive end. He also the ability to score from various angles. However, he needs to fit in better with the Spartans defensive principles, rebound the ball better, as evidenced by the fact that State gave us 25 offensive rebounds to Duke tonight.
Nothing drives Izzo crazier and makes him more incensed than when his team gets pounded on the defensive glass.
He’s not shy about expressing that sentiment either. Jackson was asked what he thinks he needs to work on to improve as a player. He answered by saying decision making, and also “handling the pressure of a lot of jobs, and held-side defense, making better choices, not rushing things and having more patience.”
Jaren Jackson Jr. was a top ten trending term on Twitter tonight during the game as he wowed the television audience. He finished with 19 and 7, 7-10 from the floor, and 3-5 from three. He has a versatile inside-outside offensive game, and the talent to provide defensive stability in the post.
Jaren Jackson Jr and Miles Bridges huge 3’s pic.twitter.com/Quj7S8GpcR
— SpartanCenter (@spartancenterig) November 15, 2017
All season long, Jackson gives the Spartans the ability to stretch the floor as a shooter while also being a true rim attacker, and that’s a formula which will be difficult for opponents to stop. Now he just needs to tighten up his defense and rebounding, but of course this is only his third game, so we have no doubt it will get there!
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.