Phog First Look: Nino Jackson

Even though our very first look at Nino Jackson happened Friday night, the real first impression was left on Saturday as Jackson's full athletic talents were on display.

Nino Jackson helped lead Athlete's First to two victories on the day (and a 3rd via forfeit), showing great offensive and defensive potential throughout. His greatest asset, right now, is his elite athleticism. Jackson is a jet on the court, with both amazing quickness and track-level speed. He's also quite the leaper, as we saw in a few acrobatic dunks.

Looking forward, though, Nino's future is clearly at the point guard position. He already shows vision of the entire court, consistently making quality passes to either side or either post. He tends to be a bit flashy with his passes and makes a few too many "no-look" plays when they probably were unnecessary. But, there is no question that Jackson sees the floor at an elite level and can make almost any pass in the book.

As a scorer, Jackson uses his tight handle on the ball for devastating crossovers and quick hesitation moves. When matched up with a man defender (a rarity, as almost every opponent elected to zone against Athletes First), Nino was able to break them down with ease. His lateral quickness is impressive, but it's the speed at which he accelerates off those moves that make him so tough to defend.

From the perimeter, Jackson displayed a solid (if streaky) jumper. He explodes off the ground for his shot, shooting high above most defenders. His release mechanics are sound and consistent, but his high elevation tends to drift him a bit from shot to shot. When Jackson is set and elevating vertically, his range is well out beyond the collegiate line.

Defensively, it's unclear just how good Jackson is on the ball as he spends the majority of his time hounding the passing lines looking for steals. He has long arms and big hands which, along with his excellent quickness, allow him to get his fingers to quite a few of those passes. Because Athletes First tends to stick with a zone (especially this weekend, with only 7 players in attendance), Jackson didn't spend much time defending any opponent in a 1v1 situation.

With such great tools to work with and what appears to be a great personality and work ethic, it's hard to envision young Mr. Jackson as anything but a success at the next level. Top Stories