Somewhere in Ontario, before celebrating the 2016 NBA All-Star Game and Drake’s ownership stake in the Toronto Raptors phenom Justin Jackson was putting in first in-last out work in a quiet gym. The young man who excels at “getting the ball in transition” and “up the floor quickly” is set to rip down college nets and one day breeze through the NBA draft. Jackson must do his homework first as the man whose basketball IQ is through the roof, will face more tests in this life but right now we have no idea how tall Jackson’s potential ceiling-yet alone height-will be. He is already walking taller than his listed height, telling us from Vegas, “I didn’t think basketball would take me this far”.
“Tough” was the first word Jackson used to describe being away from home. But he is showing the maturity in his life as well as in the game by schooling opponents nightly just when they thought class was over. No wonder the school Jackson chose was one that featured first and foremost a “track record with a really strong history, especially with Canadians”.
Attending the north of the border friendly Findlay Prep,”from the moment you step off the plane it’s a family” Justin laments “everyone makes me feel comfortable,” the same school as fellow countrymen the San Antonio Spurs’ Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson (whose best advice to J.J is “keep pushing, it helps you more than it hurts you”) of Cleveland and another Cavalier talent, coach Andy Johnson could not be prouder of his top talent. “He’s a great kid” coach told the Buzz from Vegas, adding “he can play multiple positions and do so many different things, where he helps the team in many different ways”.
“Canada basketball is definitely on the rise”.
The 6-foot-7 wing has been known to pull his teams out of 30 point deficits in just a quarter of an hour, showing his pinpoint passes are just as good as his man-child towering offense. As Johnson sees and tells it, Jackson “doesn’t have to take many dribbles or shots to be an effective player…his versatility is such a great weapon”. The “mismatch problem” also been known to score 17 against gold medalists USA in the FIBA U-17 World Championships, as well as averaging 11.2 points and 6 rebounds for Canada. No wonder he has received collegiate attention from Wake Forest to Ohio State and Baylor to Michigan. Still here’s the Scoop on Jackson, to settle on a college is the last thing on Jackson’s mind as he tells “I’m still young, I’m not looking for colleges right now”. His basketball ethics are in the right place like his attitude to study. When he is not hitting the books, he hits the boards stating “the main goal is the championship at the end of the year”.
Coach says it best, “Canada basketball is definitely on the rise”. And the next generation’s climb is helped by the hands of the man who is “getting use to the different cultures” Talent that starts with kids who think “it’s an honor just to be named in the category of such good players” that have made their way from Canada to the NBA, by way of Findlay prep. “They have set the tone for us”, he adds in tribute, “(they) just make us want to go that much harder”. The world is already watching just imagine, if this Class of 2016 prospect ended up being drafted by the Toronto Raptors for the ultimate Canadian All-Star, J.J’s good times have only just begun.