Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Musselman, Hogs fans impress 5-star Ian Jackson during visit
ESPN 5-star Ian Jackson poses with recruiting coordinator Ronnie Brewer Jr., Arkansas coach Eric Musselman and assistant coach Gus Argenal during his official visit.
Arkansas coach Eric Musselman and his coaching staff as well as Razorbacks fans made quite an impression on ESPN 5-star prospect Ian Jackson during his official visit.
Jackson, 6-5, 180 pounds, of Bronx Cardinal Hayes, arrived in Fayetteville late Tuesday night and left early Thursday afternoon.
He took in Arkansas’ 84-69 loss to Alabama in Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday.
“It was great. It was great,” Jackson said. “Being at Bud Walton Arena, I saw the atmosphere on a Wednesday night and it was great. It was an environment that you rarely see.”
Razorbacks fans caught his attention during the game.
“The constant energy level,” Jackson said. “I thought the whole game the energy level never died. The crowd was screaming all game, standing up all game, cheering all game. That’s what stood out.”
ESPN’s No. 2 prospect nationally in the 2024 class and No. 1 shooting guard, Jackson said Musselman’s and his staff’s collective 52 years of NBA coaching experience is intriguing.
“They have a great staff here, a lot of NBA experience, a lot of coaching experience in general, so the staff here is great,” Jackson said. “They lock in on key things, little things, and try do whatever they can to help you become an NBA player.”
The trip to Fayetteville wrapped up his fifth and final official visit as a junior. He previously visited Kentucky, Oregon, LSU and North Carolina.
Senior prospects are allowed five official visits after Aug. 1.
Living in the New York City metro area with a population in excess of 18 million is obviously different from Northwest Arkansas, which has a population greater than 600,000 in the metro area.
“It’s different. It’s very different,” he said. “It’s not the same as New York, but it’s a place you can go, put your head down and really get to work and get where you want to go.”
Recruits often mention how Musselman’s plan for developing their talent at Arkansas is top tier.
“Coach Muss is great,” Jackson said. “He’s enthusiastic about the game. You can see that he loves coaching it. He loves being around the game and is still a student of the game. Coach Muss is great.”
Jackson was able to talk to Arkansas chancellor Charles F. Robinson on Wednesday.
“That was great,” Jackson said. “The chancellor was great. He was a cool dude. He said he was one of the two African American chancellors, which was crazy to me.
“It was great having a conversation with him and getting to pick his brain a little bit and talking about things.”
His teammate and 4-star junior prospect Elijah Moore cut his list of schools to Arkansas, Alabama, Miami, Oklahoma State and Syracuse on Tuesday. He appears to be looking to visit Fayetteville at some point.
“I’ll tell (Moore) that it’s different,” Jackson said of Arkansas. “It’s going to be way different than any other visit you’ve been on. Being in Bud Walton Arena and being in the SEC is different. That’s what I’d tell him, just that it’s different.”
Jackson played it close to vest when asked if the visit helped Arkansas’ chances with him.
“The visit went well,” Jackson said. “I feel like right now every school still has a chance. I’m going to process it, and I’m still evaluating and kind of thinking about where I want to go.
“Arkansas is great, and so is every school.”
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