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

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 the No. 1 overall prospect in his class by 247Sports, wrote in a social media post that he intends to “explore other options.”

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

Since his birthday is in December 2004, Jackson will turn 19 in the calendar year of 2023 and therefore be eligible — just barely — for the 2023 NBA Draft if he reclassifies and plays college basketball this season. As a likely one-and-done prospect, getting to college basketball a year ahead of schedule would allow him the chance to reach the NBA a year earlier than if he remains 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 the commitment of five-star guard Simeon Wilcher, the Tar Heels were off to an excellent start with the Class of 2023.

Even for such a storied program as North Carolina, Jackson was on track to be the program’s No. 2 ranked commitment of 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 the ability to recruit, and the immediate future remains incredibly bright for the Tar Heels.

With four of five starters back from last season’s Final Four team and all 13 scholarships filled for the 2022-23 season, the Tar Heels sit at No. 2 in Gary Parrish’s Top 25 and 1 and will likely be picked to win the ACC. Figuring out a way to incorporate Jackson into UNC’s 2022-23 roster from a scholarship and playing time standpoint would have been complicated, and with Wilcher in the fold, it’s not as if Jackson’s de-commitment totally wrecks UNC’s 2023 class.

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