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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Waterford Mott’s Isaiah Jackson picks Kentucky

By: , November 18, 2019, 10:39 am

Waterford Mott’s Isaiah Jackson, the highest-ranked boys basketball recruit in the state, signed with Kentucky over the weekend. 

The five-star power forward is considered by some scouts the best rebounder and post defender in the country. He’ll be one of the frontrunners in a heated race for Mr. Basketball in 2020.

“First and foremost, this is a dream come true for me,” Jackson said in a statement to USA Today Saturday. “The moment coach (John) Calipari started recruiting me my passion for Kentucky just started to grow bigger and bigger. At the end of the day, it was a hard decision but my heart was with Coach Cal and the Wildcats.”

Last month, the 6-foot-9 Jackson trimmed his list of choices to UK, Alabama and Syracuse. He transferred back in-state to Mott in the offseason after spending  his junior year on the prep school circuit in Ohio at Spire Academy playing alongside projected NBA Lottery pick LaMelo Ball and current Michigan State guard Mark (Rocket) Watts. His brother graduated from Mott and his little sister is a junior at the school and has been in the Waterford School District her whole life. As a sophomore, he played with Watts at Detroit Old Redford Academy and as a freshman, he played Class D ball at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest. 

The last player from Michigan to head to storied UK for their college hoops was Rochester’s James Young, who an NBA first-rounder in 2014.

Mott is one of the top programs in the Lakes Valley Conference. With Jackson in the lineup, the Corsairs are runaway favorites in the league race and should be able to give state-title contender Orchard Lake St. Mary’s a run for its money in districts come tournament time in March. DaMarion Bonds, DQ Washington and Trayale Solomon are a talented trio in the Mott backcourt and forward Zeke Price equals Jackson in the workhorse department up front.

The crowded Mr. Basketball field this winter will consist of Jackson, OLSM combo guard Lorne Bowman, Benton Harbor small forward Carlos (Scooby) Johnson, Flint Beecher point guard Jalen Terry and Clarkston center Matt Nicholson. Bowman signed with Wisconsin, while Johnson inked with Xavier and Nicholson with Northwestern. Terry remains on the market after de-committing from Michigan State earlier in the fall.

— SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN