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BURNEY’S BYTES: After stint at Spire Academy, blue chip hoops star Isaiah Jackson returns to Michigan, enrolls at Waterford Mott for senior season

By: Scott Burnstein, June 9, 2019, 3:45 pm

Blue chipper Isaiah Jackson is back in Michigan to stay. Well, at least for the next 12 months.

"The prodigal son has returned," joked his proud papa.

A surefire All-American out of the frontcourt and one of the top boys basketball recruits in the nation’s Class of 2020, the 6-foot-9 Jackson enrolled at Waterford Mott this week and intends to suit up for the two-time defending Lakes Valley Conference champion Corsairs next winter. Last year, he took the prep school route and played at Spire Academy in Ohio with reality television star LaMelo Ball and Michigan State-bound point guard Mark (Rocket) Watts. ESPN ranks Jackson the No. 13 overall prospect in America for the incoming senior class and many recruiting experts peg him the best defensive player in the entire class.

The status of Jackson’s immediate eligibility remains unclear at this point however it can be noted that Detroit U-D Jesuit departing seniors Julian Dozier and Jalen Thomas returned from short stints at out-of-state locales last year and retained their eligibility right away. Jackson’s sister has been at Mott for the last few years and his older brother went there as well.

Jackson is currently deciding between a wide-array of elite scholarship offers, including a bid from Tom Izzo and Michigan State. As a freshman, he played at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest before moving on to Detroit Old Redford as a sophomore where he played alongside Watts. Jackson followed Watts to Spire last summer.

There are several high-quality guards in Mott’s lineup to take over from where Watts left off feeding Jackson the ball. DaMarion Bonds, DQ Washington and Trayale Solomon will surely keep their new 5-star prospect of a teammate happy with a bevy of alley-oops, no-look dimes and drive-and-dishes throughout the 2020 campaign. This is the kind of kid that dunks everything in his orbit, blocks shots like he’s Serge Ibaka and has a motor like an old-school Dennis Rodman. In other words, he’s beast mode 24/7.

Another factor to consider in Jackson’s move back to the Mitten: Could the city of Waterford have its first Mr. Basketball in the making?

Jackson’s presence in the state for the upcoming season certainly puts him squarely in the middle of the race that’s for sure. The other frontrunners in a crowded field will be Benton Harbor small forward Carlos (Scooby) Johnson, Flint Beecher point guard and Michigan State-commit Jalen Terry and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s combo guard and Wisconsin-commit Lorne Bowman.

“We want to put Isaiah in a position to go after Mr. Basketball, he’s a rare talent and we’re all lucky to have him back playing in Michigan for his senior year,” Mott coach Dave McGlown said.

McGlown’s Corsairs went 16-4 in 2019 and shared the LVC title with Walled Lake Northern. Mott won the LVC outright in 2018. With Jackson’s anchoring the attack, the Corsairs are poised to make it a three-peat.