The NBA Draft is approaching us once again, and Kentucky has their hand in the pie as usual. Time seem to be a little different as we aren't riding on the borderline of breaking the "most first round draft picks" in a single Draft, or having multiple first round picks that has seemed to become accustomed around these areas of the world, but Kentucky does have one big piece centered in this years NBA Draft to provide some type of light after such a dreadful season that we just got dragged through. That light is, Isaiah Jackson.
Isaiah Jackson, who wasn't even in the first-five of Kentucky's rotation when he got here has emerged his way through all the mock draft boards, climbing the list which has landed him a 'Green Room invite' summer, essentially guaranteeing his name to be called by an organization. NBADraft.Net has Jackson being picked at No. 21, CBS Sports at No. 8, and ESPN at No. 11. The former five-star big man has just about as secure of a lock as Billy Gillispie does that he'll never coach at Kentucky again. Pretty secure.
In just one season of college basketball, Isaiah averaged 8.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 0.7 APG, 2.6 BPG and 0.8 SPG in just 20 minutes of play. The 6'10, 240lbs forward also shot 54% from the field.
His ability to block two and a half shots a game shot him way up the record books, putting him in the comparisons with some familiar names such as Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel.
In just 25 career games, and no postseason, Jackson managed to reach 34th all-time in blocks (65) at Kentucky, just two spots behind DeMarcus Cousins (67) in 2010. His lone year ranked as the 22nd best for most blocks in a season, behind Jamaal Magloire who went for 66 blocks twice in 1997-98 (38 games), and the year before in 34 games.
Pre-Draft Interview with ESPN:
"I feel like I'm ready," Jackson told ESPN. "All the feedback from teams has been good. People are saying lottery, which is what I wanted. That's one of the main reasons I'm declaring, so my agent can get involved and speak on my behalf in terms of negotiating and making sure he can get me to the right team."
"I knew deep down inside that everything was going to come together eventually," he said. "I knew I wasn't just a dunker and that I had more in my bag. I was just waiting on the opportunity. Coach [John Calipari] believed in me the whole time, but in the beginning, he didn't have that trust in me. As the season moved on, he told me what I needed to do to find my identity. He told me to go out and rock."
Isaiah Jackson spent a portion of the summer out in Southern California working out with several projected draft picks, including Baylor's Davion Mitchell, Tennessee's Keon Johnson, North Carolina's Day'Ron Sharpe, the G League Ignite's Jalen Green and LSU's Cameron Thomas.
Jackson says that while he wasn't seen as a 'one-and-done prospect' entering the season, the coaching staff at Kentucky has been highly supportive of him in the pre-draft process.
"Coach Cal hasn't put any pressure on me to return," Jackson said. "He basically gave me his blessing. He said he would love to have me back, but whatever decision I make, he's rocking it. That's my guy. He knows it's my dream." So Jackson hired an agent and went all-in on the draft process.
The 2021 NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, July 29 at 8 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center in New York.
2021 FIRST ROUND
1. Detroit 2. Houston 3. Cleveland 4. Toronto 5. Orlando 6. Oklahoma City 7. Golden State (from Minnesota) 8. Orlando (from Chicago) 9. Sacramento 10. New Orleans 11. Charlotte 12. San Antonio 13. Indiana 14. Golden State 15. Washington 16. Oklahoma City (from Boston) 17. Memphis
18. Oklahoma City (from Miami via the LA Clippers, Philadelphia, and Phoenix)
19. New York
21. New York (from Dallas)
22. Los Angeles Lakers
23. Houston (from Portland)
24. Houston (from Milwaukee)
25. LA Clippers
How high do you think Isaiah Jackson will get drafted?