Vegas: Reading Vance Jackson's Tea Leaves

LAS VEGAS -- Scout's blanket coverage of Vegas continues, as we turn the camera -- and the microphone -- on new Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei star Vance Jackson ...

LAS VEGAS -- Vance Jackson is a bit of an enigma. Recently, the 6-foot-8 wing announced his transfer from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco to Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, and when asked about recruiting, he equivocates.

“Right now, I’m open to every school,” Jackson said at last month’s adidas Uprising. Asked what schools are on him the most, he again obfuscates. “It’s kind of been neutral. I haven’t narrowed down any schools yet … It’s kind of all equal.”

There is one school, though, that has opened Jackson’s eyes – California -- though he says he has a group of schools that are also aggressively recruiting him, which also includes USC, Oregon, UCONN, Maryland and Memphis.

“I talk with Cal, it’s constant. It’s like three times a week,” says Jackson, who says that the Bears are more active than most. Cal’s 2015 recruiting class – five-stars Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown -- was impressive to Jackson.

“They opened up my eyes, really big-time,” Jackson says. “Seeing potential pros going into that program, they’ve got a lot of eyes focusing on that school, so the next recruiting class – my recruiting class – all eyes would be on us.”

The Bears like Jackson as a point-forward, he says, playing anywhere from the two-guard to power forward.

Jackson clearly has athletic talent, but, again, can come off as a bit of a mystery when watching him in a vacuum. Having seen him play for Belmont Shore at the Battle at the Beach last July, it’s evident that he’s quite a shooter.

At adidas, that wasn’t quite as clear. While Jackson’s shooting was inconsistent during his time in Vegas – his stroke off the quick catch-and-shoot was much cleaner (and more accurate) than when he had time to think and set up for a shot – he was a presence on the boards (3.8 rpg), shot 81.3% from the free throw line averaged 1.6 assists and hit 55.4% of his shots from three-point range. If Jackson can bottle that sense of immediacy and clarity he has when just reacting to a pass, he’s going to be very dangerous as a shooter at the next level.

What Jackson really wants to work on this season – his final prep year – is his defense.

“I want to keep the guy I’m defending under five points, so I want to improve my defense, locking my guy down, and helping my teammates with rebounding,” Jackson said.

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