Jackson Gets First Offer for 2016

Although continuing to focus their efforts on 2014 and 2015, the Wisconsin men's basketball program ventured into the 2016 recruiting class on Sunday, offering Garfield Heights (OH) forward Willie Jackson.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan likes evaluating, targeting and offering high school players at an early age in hopes it will give them a leg up in recruiting. Once again Ryan applied this strategy to Willie Jackson, a 6-4 small forward prospect from Garfield Heights (OH) High.

"I was told he was pretty excited that he landed his first offer, especially from a big time school like Wisconsin," Garfield Heights High School Head Coach Sonny Johnson told Badger Nation.

Playing on the AAU All-Ohio Red, the same program as UW 2013 commit Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin hadn't had a lot of contact with Jackson – a 2016 recruit - until he played his way into a scholarship offer on the last day of UW's elite camp Sunday.

"Former Badger Rob Wilson went to Garfield Heights and I know (Jackson) would watch the Badgers so he could see how Wilson was doing with Wisconsin," Johnson said. "He thought it was cool to see a former player from Garfield playing at such a big school like Wisconsin."

Johnson described Jackson as "a slasher," a talented prospect who can play multiple positions, has an effective jump shot and a solid rebounder for a kid his age.

"He does a lot of good thing on both sides of the floor," said Johnson. "He still needs to work on his game, even his strengths, because he still can improve in those areas. He's still learning the game but I know he'll keep progressing and he'll get to the player he's capable of and I'm excited to see his development."

Despite Jackson only going into his sophomore season, he could potentially be one of the premier players in the 2016 class. Johnson isn't surprised to hear that because he sees the potential.

"I think he can; he has nothing but upside and he's a high character guy," Johnson said. "He definitely has the work ethic to make sure he doesn't waste the potential that he does have. He just has to keep working on his game. When you're that young it's easy to get distracted when people are telling him how good he could be, but he can't let that get to him. I don't think he listens to it at all because he knows a lot can happen."

Even though Jackson currently sits at one offer, Johnson see's plenty of more offers coming his way.

"Were going to the Ohio State camp this Friday so he'll be able to show off his skills there," Johnson said. "We're also going to Akron and Kent State's elite camp later this summer.

"I can see Xavier and West Virginia both possibly offering sometime because they have been in contact with him. Also I can see Ohio State offering some time."

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