The final July evaluation period for high school basketball began on Wednesday night which meant a Who’s Who of college coaches could be found crunched into various gyms around southern Nevada.
Kentucky’s John Calipari? Check.
Michigan State’s Tom Izzo? Check.
Bill Self of Kansas, Roy Williams of North Carolina and Lon Kruger of Oklahoma? Check, check and check.
And stationed at Court One at the Las Vegas Fab 48 at Bishop Gorman for the 8 p.m. game between Canada Elite and Team Loaded North Carolina was the duo of UNLV head coach Dave Rice and assistant Todd Simon.
The object of their attention was versatile 6-foot-7 point forward Justin Jackson who verbally committed to the Rebels last September while attending Findlay Prep.
But Jackson, regarded one of the top 40 prospects for the Class of 2016, has been considering the possibility of reclassifying into the Class of 2015 and enrolling at UNLV this fall instead of playing another year of prep school ball.
“Everything is in order (academically),” Jackson, who scored a team-high 19 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists in a 66-62 loss, said. “Everything is straight. It’s just whether I want to go or not.”
Jackson has been mulling over the decision since March and is running out of time. A starter for Canada’s Under 19 team at the FIBA Under 19 World Championships in Greece earlier this summer, he says he will discuss the decision with his coaches and parents after this weekend.
“Honestly, I just wanted to keep my head fresh for Team Canada and the national team experience,” Jackson said. “Right now is the time period where I’m actually going to make my decision.”
Jackson said UNLV’s coaches have been supportive. The Rebels have one open scholarship still available just in case.
“We talk all the time,” he said. “They told me they trust me, they trust my decision and they support me. So whatever I decide they’re with me 100 percent.”
Jackson hinted UNLV’s already deep roster could affect his decision. Hear what he had to say in the VIDEO below.
Although most crammed into Gorman to watch 5-star recruits like 7-foot Thon Maker of Canada Elite and point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and power forward Edrice Adebayo of Team Loaded, it was guard Brandon Robinson who stole the show, scoring a game-high 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, to lead Team Loaded to the win.
Maker, who spent much of the second half of the bench in foul trouble after struggling to defend the stronger and more physical Adebayo, did have one YouTube moment that brought down the house in a one-on-one matchup against Adebayo. Check out the video below and remember that Maker is a 7-footer doing this.
WATCH || Thon Maker with the ankle breaker. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent … https://t.co/eB5k7n9oTx
— Chip Miller (@BLUEChip_Miller) July 23, 2015
The Las Vegas Fab 48, Adidas Uprising at the Cashman Center and the Bigfoot Las Vegas Classic headquartered at Rancho High all have a full slate of games on Thursday. Jackson’s Canada Elite squad is scheduled to play the New York Panthers at 3:30 p.m. on Court 2 at Bishop Gorman.