GG Jackson de-commits from UNC: No. 1 recruit in 2023 class opts to explore options outside of Tar Heels

GG Jackson de-commits from UNC: No. 1 recruit in 2023 class opts to explore options outside of Tar Heels

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Less than three months after committing to North Carolina following the Tar Heels’ improbable Final Four run, elite Class of 2023 prospect GG Jackson announced Thursday night that he is de-committing from the Tar Heels. Jackson, who is ranked No. 1 overall in his class by 247Sports, wrote in a social media post that he “wants to explore other options.”

Jackson’s announcement follows a Thursday report from 247Sports’ Travis Branham indicating the 6-foot-9 power forward will reclassify in the class of 2022 and is expected to announce his commitment to South Carolina “within the next two weeks.” Last season as a junior at Ridge View High School, just 15 miles from the South Carolina campus, Jackson averaged 22.1 points and 10.9 rebounds while earning South Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year honors.

Since his birthday is in December 2004, Jackson will be 19 years old in the 2023 calendar year and therefore eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft – if he reclassifies and plays college basketball this season. As a potential one-and-done prospect, going to college basketball a year early would give him a chance to reach the NBA a year earlier than being part of the 2023 class.

Implications for UNC

Losing a commitment from a player of Jackson’s caliber stings for North Carolina, especially since UNC was considered Jackson’s “personal dream school,” according to 247Sports’ Branham. With his commitment and that of five-star guard Simeon Wilcher, the Tar Heels are off to a great start with the 2023 class.

Even for a storied program like North Carolina, Jackson was on track to become the program’s No. 2 ranked commitment in the 247Sports era behind Harrison Barnes. But his decision to look elsewhere shouldn’t be cause for panic. Second-year coach Hubert Davis has clearly shown recruiting ability and has an incredibly bright future for the Tar Heels.

With four of five players from last season’s Final Four team returning and 13 scholarships filled for the 2022-23 season, the Tar Heels sit No. 2 in Gary Parish’s top 25 and 1 and will likely be picked to win the ACC. Finding a way to get Jackson onto UNC’s 2022-23 roster from a scholarship and playing time perspective would have been complicated, and folded with Wilcher, Jackson’s de-commitment completely destroyed UNC’s 2023 class.

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