Ian Jackson brings dynamic scoring potential to UNC basketball as a freshman.

In seventh grade, Ian Jackson was dealing with typical teenage growing pains, such as aching knees and leg pain, which caused a temporary limp. This limp was noticeable enough for his middle school basketball coach to nickname him “Captain Jack,” referencing the pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. Initially, Jackson found the nickname corny, but he embraced it by using it as his Instagram handle, and it stuck as he rose through the basketball ranks to become the crown jewel of North Carolina’s incoming freshman class. With 190,000 Instagram followers, the nickname is now part of his identity, even becoming the title of his Overtime-sponsored podcast. Jackson transferred to Our Savior Lutheran, part of the Overtime Elite league, before his senior year, and he anticipates selling plenty of pirate-themed merchandise in Chapel Hill.

Jackson faces high expectations as the No. 8 player in the 2024 class, making him the highest-ranked player coached by Hubert Davis at UNC. Alongside returning backcourt players Elliot Cadeau and Elliot Cadeau, UNC will have one of the most talented perimeter trios in the country. Hubert Davis is likely to adjust his strategy to maximize the talents of these players. Jackson, known for his “electric” playing style and quickness, aims to contribute significantly to the Tar Heels’ success and win another national championship for North Carolina.

Jackson’s passion for basketball ignited in sixth grade after a painful loss revealed how much he cared about the sport. Determined to improve, he dedicated himself to honing his skills, which led to his recognition as National Sophomore of the Year in 2022 by MaxPreps. Kentucky was a frontrunner in his recruitment, but Jackson chose North Carolina because of his strong connection with Coach Davis, who understands and supports his goals.

To prepare for college, Jackson transferred to Our Savior Lutheran and joined OTE as a non-professional to maintain eligibility. At OTE, he faced top-tier competition and benefited from extensive resources, including a college-level weight room and high-tech practice courts. This experience helped him grow his social media following and enhance his game. Despite his success, Jackson continues to work on areas like strength, decision-making, and shooting efficiency.

After his OTE season, Jackson participated in several all-star games, including the McDonald’s All-American game, where he nearly earned MVP honors. He will join UNC in early June, having already built a rapport with future teammates like Cadeau. Jackson has studied UNC’s playing style and is ready to make a significant impact on the team, emphasizing his unique approach to the game and his commitment to winning. Expect Jackson to wear jersey No. 11, a number that holds personal significance for him, reflecting his belief in being “one of one.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *