A Fourth High Major PG To Watch In '10?

By now most Blue Devil fans who follow recruiting know about the "big three" point guard prospects from the class of 2010. However, another lead guard has seen his stock rise significantly over the last few months which has culminated with increasing interest from Mike Krzyzewski's programs.

Rated as a five star prospect and the nation's number six point guard by Scout.com, Memphis (TN) White Station standout Joe Jackson is certainly not hurting for potential college suitors. Already claiming more than a dozen offers, the 5-foot-11 speedster came to the 2009 NBA Players Camp looking to solidify his ranking and reputation.

After several days the Tennessee native seems to have done just that drawing one Scout analyst to describe his speed and scoring ability from the point guard position as "Iverson-like". On Saturday night, the evaluation of his performance read as such from Scout's Evan Daniels:

Jackson's speed is one of the many attributes that separates him from the other floor generals in the class. End to end there aren't many guys in the country that can compete with him. But to go with his speed, he's a high level athlete and has developed a mid-range game full of floaters and pull-up jumpers. Jackson is fearless as well and he showed that when he went to the rim in the half court set and threw down a nasty jam on Justin Coleman.

"I'm the type of player that always comes out and tries to play my best," said Jackson after his performance. "When I get to play against guys like Ray McCallum and others, it brings out the best in me as a player and I really enjoy the competition. It's always fun playing against talented opponents."

But maybe not as fun for his opponents who may have visions of Allen Iverson as Jackson continually blows by and attacks the rim. It's a comparison that Jackson appreciates.

"Growing up I was more of an NBA guy and I still watch a lot of NBA games - especially when Iverson is playing. I see myself as a scoring point guard like him and there's a lot of schools that like that and play my style."

Which is why Jackson has tuned the dial a bit more during the winter months to incorporate the college game.

"Lately I've watched more college games. I watch the ACC, the Pac 10, and the SEC mainly. I look to see how teams are using their guards. Off the top of my head I like how places such as Memphis, Miami, Connecticut, Duke, Tennessee, Syracuse, and Kentucky use their guards. All of them have their own styles, but all of them are good and it's something I look at."

Being the highest rated prospect in the state of Tennessee, Jackson is, of course, being linked to schools such as Memphis and Tennessee - which is one of the better regional rivalries around. However, despite his close proximity, he's not choosing sides in that one.

"People always assume that because I live around the corner from Memphis that I'm for them. But I've got a great deal of respect for Tennessee and Coach Pearl. Those programs have had some great battles over the years."

One program in particular with strong Memphis relations, the Kentucky Wildcats and former Tigers' coach John Calapari, have been working hard on Jackson as a potential solution for the class of 2010. However, the recent happenings with the Wildcat roster and recruiting strategy haven't gone un-noticed.

"It was really difficult when Coach Calapari left for Kentucky. I was going over there all the time and playing pick-up with the guys and just getting to know the program really well. Now that he's gone, it's a new situation with Coach Pastner, but I think they are still going to be good. Just different."

"In terms of Kentucky, I'm not really sure. A lot of people assumed that I was going to go to Memphis when he was there because of how close I was and then when he went to Kentucky that I'd follow him there. To be honest there are a lot of guys at Kentucky in terms of playing time and when I recently heard they are recruiting Brandon Knight as the number one option for the point guard spot in my class, I'm have second thoughts about Kentucky and Coach Calapari."

One program who Jackson isn't as familiar with, but who has recently started communicating is Duke, who has well documented needs at the point guard position for the class of 2010. Recently the Blue Devils have had some success recruiting in the Volunteer state with the commitment of Elliot Williams - something that may have helped them with Jackson in the early stages.

"Elliot's my dude for sure. Ever since he went to Duke he's been talking with me about Duke and letting me know what it's like. As far leaving home to go to a place like that - it's not a big deal for me. My main thing with wherever I go is to know that I'll be able to earn some playing time and I want a chance to compete for a championship."

"I have to admit, it's really exciting when Duke starts recruiting you. I realize that they are looking for a really good point guard out my class which is appealing to me. They haven't sent too much mail at this point, but they have been talking with me and my coach on the phone. They are just telling me they want a nice point guard in this class and they are recruiting me, Brandon Knight, Kyrie Irving, and Ray McCallum for that spot. I feel like I could do some really good things for them as a player. Some people think it's surprising that I am considering Duke because some say they are set at the point guard spot, but they want another one and I am good with that."

One thing the Blue Devils have been able to do in the early stages is establish a rapport with Jackson, while making no bones about their intentions in the class. The fact that the Durham based coaching staff and others have made it clear of their intentions is something Jackson appreciates, but something he doesn't believe is a universal approach among his potential suitors.

"To be honest it was a bit surprising when I heard that Kentucky is recruiting Brandon very hard and they are wanting to get the number one point guard prospect in the class again - like they did with John Wall. I'm OK with it, but to not really hear it from them but from someone else....I don't know, it's just a different approach I guess. With Duke and others I feel like I know exactly where I stand with them."

Varying approaches are likely to continue for Jackson as he continues through the summer AAU schedule and begins setting up a stable of visits to the various schools on his list. With so many club ball events lined up, he doesn't expect a decision to come before the fall, though he is hoping to sign in the early signing period.

"I would like to take my full amount of unofficial and official visits if I can. Some of the programs I want to visit are Tennessee, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, Texas, Villanova, Connecticut, as well as some others."

Interview conducted by Steve Clark at the 2009 NBAPA Camp

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