South Kent (Conn.) School four-star recruit Elmarko Jackson tells On3 he’s down to seven schools: Miami, Kansas, Texas, Notre Dame, Virginia, UCLA, and Villanova.
Jackson, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound class of 2023 point guard, has taken one official visit to Miami. He’s scheduled to see Kansas this weekend, followed up by Texas the next weekend. Notre Dame will host him on October 30th and Virginia will get the fifth and final official with the date TBD.
In addition to his seven finalists, Jackson, a Marlton, N.J. native, also received offers from Maryland, Louisville, VCU, Michigan, and others.
Jackson is the No. 25 overall prospect in the 2023 class, according to the On3 Consensus, the average ranking from all four major recruiting media companies. He’s also the No. 4 point guard and the No. 1 player in the state of Connecticut.
Elmarko sat down with On3 for an in-depth interview on his final seven schools.
Jackson recaps his first official visit to Miami
“Miami was really good. I got to talk with all the staff. I had a really good time with the players and the team. They just showed me how it was around campus. And then late night, I got to get in the gym with Isaiah Wong, just play ones with him, shoot with him a little bit, which was really good.
“I really got to see the team for what it really was and it was good. There was no gimmicks, no like glits and glamor and stuff like that, which was something that I really liked a lot. I just got create a really good relationship with the guys that are there right now.”
What was Jackson’s main takeaway from his trip?
“My main takeaway was how good a relationship coach L has with his players. It’s really like a family there. It’s something that I haven’t really seen at the collegiate level so far. It was really good to see how well connected the whole basketball team was with each other, as well as the coaching staff, to the point where they could really kind of just go over to coach L’s house, relax, and just chop it up.”
Preview of Kansas visit and the Jayhawks’ recruiting pitch
Jackson will trip to Lawrence to officially visit Kansas this upcoming weekend. What is he looking forward to, and what are his expectations for the trip?
“I’m looking forward to seeing how they work as a team and getting the opportunity to watch them practice a little bit. I want to see how coach (Bill) Self and the staff pushes their players. I want to see how the players are as a unit together and how they are off the court.”
What has been Kansas’ recruiting pitch to Jackson?
“The recruiting pitch to me is they’re not recruiting me as a freshman point guard to not play. They want me to go in there and earn my spot as a freshman point guard and play with Chris Johnson being like a lead guard with the ball like just facilitating, playing defense, making shots, and just contributing to the great legacy that Kansas basketball has already.”
Preview of Texas visit
“I was just talking with coach (Chris) Beard today. He is just telling me that I’m their priority guard. He says he wants to pretty much do the same thing like Kansas, to put the ball in my hands, and make me a lead guard, play defense, get buckets, but also have me playing off the ball as. Have some actions, like I did with my AAU team this summer. Coming off pin downs, some screens, all that type of stuff. Just make me a more versatile player. And a win the national championship. That’s something he really talks about a lot.”
“They play with a lot of freedom. I talk to coach (Antoni) Wyche about that a lot. They give their players a lot of freedom within their offense, so it’s a free-flowing offense and they play with a pretty fast pace.”
“Virginia is changing their offense kind of like a more European type of offense. The way they come off for screens and stuff like that. And just like defensively, how they get after it. They’re a very aggressive defensive team.
“Coach Tony Bennett is a really good coach. He played at the highest level in the NBA where I want to play. He played point guard, the same position as me. I feel like he’s got the knowledge more so in that type of field than some of these other coaches have when it comes to getting to the NBA at that point guard spot.”
Jackson talks Villanova, UCLA
Although they won’t get official visits, Jackson will still consider Villanova and UCLA moving forward.
Villanova: “I talked with their whole coaching staff last week. We just talked about how serious they approach basketball, how their schedule is, and just how efficient it would be for me to stay home and be in that area. How easy it would be for me. Just pretty much how Villanova basketball does it differently and prepares you for the NBA.”
UCLA: “They do a really good job at developing their players. Coach Mick (Cronin) has been at Cincinnati and pretty much-developed players from the ground up. Now that he’s in a position like this at UCLA, having possibly kids like me go there and develop me to be an NBA point guard and just to get to work and contribute to like the winning legacy that UCLA has.”
What is Jackson looking for in a school?
“I’m looking for how hard the coaches push the players. How locked in everybody is with winning, and that just goes for the whole staff and the players, how locked in they are. Just a culture where everybody pretty much goes hard and pushes each other to be better.”
How much of a role will NIL play into a decision?
“I mean, it’s going to play a role, but not the biggest part. It’s definitely something that I am considering now that college players can get paid off of NIL. So it’s something that I am looking at but it’s definitely not the biggest factor on my totem pole when it comes to making a decision.”
“I’m still trying to figure things out,” Jackson says. “After I take my visits, I would probably like to decide before my high school basketball season starts in mid-November.”