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5-Star PF GG Jackson, Ex-UNC Commit, Commits to South Carolina, Reclassifies to 2022

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2022

Photo credit: Will Turboff, 247Sports

For highly touted power forward GG Jackson, the second time might be the charm.

Jackson announced Saturday he's committing to South Carolina and reclassifying to the 2022 class.

Gregory “GG” Jackson @_ggjackson

I will like to announce that I will be reclassifying to the class of 2022, committing to the University of South Carolina to further my career and education. NOW LETS HAVE FUN FAMS!🤙🏾🐔 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HometownHero?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HometownHero</a>

This comes after the Columbia, South Carolina, native announced he was decommitting from North Carolina and reopening his recruitment. Travis Branham of 247Sports also reported reclassifying was on the table.

Gregory “GG” Jackson @_ggjackson

Gods Plan🙏🏾 <a href="https://t.co/BRWs2To5Cj">pic.twitter.com/BRWs2To5Cj</a>

Jackson's announcement sent significant ripples across the college basketball landscape because he was the No. 1 power forward and No. 2 overall player in the 2023 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

The Tar Heels aren't used to losing blue-chip talent, either. ESPN's Jeff Borzello noted this was the program's first decommitment since J.R. Smith in 2003. In that instance, Smith spurned UNC in order to take the leap to the NBA.

It only takes one look at Jackson's highlight reel to understand what all the hype is about:

Overtime @overtime

UNC commit GG Jackson won MVP at the NBPA Top 100 Camp 🏆 <a href="https://twitter.com/_ggjackson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_ggjackson</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Top100Camp?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Top100Camp</a> <a href="https://t.co/bU72bw8GOE">pic.twitter.com/bU72bw8GOE</a>

Ballislife.com @Ballislife

North Carolina Tar Heels landed a commitment from 5-star forward GG Jackson 💪🏽 <a href="https://t.co/epKQC3AYvq">pic.twitter.com/epKQC3AYvq</a>

247Sports' Eric Bossi described Jackson as "a major problem on the offensive end" and "ahead of the curve" on defense:

"Over the last year, Jackson has made significant improvements when it comes to his skill level. He is a more than capable jump shooter, has a nice jump hook and he's become a real threat to face up and attack off the dribble. His passing has some room for growth but he's improved greatly when it comes to recognizing double teams and finding an open teammate. On the block he has an advantage because of his quickness and while his perimeter ability is what may allow him to create distance between himself and other big men in the class, he has to be careful not to float around out there too much."

The Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year in South Carolina, he averaged 22.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while helping Ridge View High School win a state title.

The odds of Jackson sticking around with South Carolina for more than a season are slim since he'll likely project as a top-10 NBA draft pick after his freshman year. But he can make that one season count as a member of the Gamecocks.

There's also the impact of what this says about first-year head coach Lamont Paris.

The 47-year-old is only just getting settled and has already snagged the highest-ranked recruit since at least 2000. Jackson's 0.9993 composite rating puts him just above PJ Dozier (0.9904).

Even when Jackson decommitted and it looked like South Carolina had a shot, some within the fanbase probably remained skeptical this would actually happen.

Mike Uva @Mike_Uva

GG Jackson could decommit from UNC &amp; fly a jet over Columbia w/ a banner that says he committing to USC &amp; there would still be Gamecock fans that won’t believe it until they actually see him on the court wearing garnet &amp; black. And yet, I wouldn’t blame them. Hang in there, y’all

Players this good simply don't show up in Columbia unless they're on an opposing team. The aforementioned Dozier was the 25th-best player in 2015.

That's why Frank Martin was unable to build on the Gamecocks' trip to the 2017 Final Four—Dozier was the second-leading scorer on that squad.

In an era of name, image and likeness, Paris might have better luck consistently landing strong recruiting classes, the kind that can make South Carolina nationally relevant.

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