WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Another top target in Purdue men’s basketball’s 2017 recruiting class is headed elsewhere.
ESPN reported this morning that Jaren Jackson, Jr., a five-star recruit who plays for La Lumiere School in LaPorte, had committed to Michigan State. The 6-foot-10, 220-pound power forward, who turned 17 on Thursday, chose the Spartans over Purdue and Maryland.
Jackson also confirmed the decision with a Twitter post.
“I didn’t plan it this way,” Jackson said. “I have done all my homework on each school … and discussed everything with my family, and the timing just happened to land on my birthday,” Jackson told ESPN’s Paul Biancardi. “When you have a Hall of Fame coach like Tom Izzo, it makes a statement about the program.
“Coach Izzo has established a culture and an attitude of winning and I want to be part of that. He does a great job at developing his talent too.”
Purdue was the first program to offer Jackson a scholarship and had pursued him as a priority recruit. When Jackson played for Team USA at the U17 World Championships in Spain over the summer, Purdue coach Matt Painter, who has a long relationship with USA Basketball, attended several of his games.
Jackson did not officially visit any of the programs in his final five, which also included Georgetown and Notre Dame. He took an unofficial visit to all five, including Purdue in August.
Purdue will have at least four open scholarships for the 2017 class. The Boilermakers will continue to pursue big men, including Arizona prep school center Chris Sodom, who has scheduled an official visit for this weekend.
Several of Purdue’s original targets for 2017 have picked other schools, such as Fort Wayne’s Malik Williams to Louisville, Rhode Island big man Terrell brown to Pittsburgh and Minnesota forward Theo John to Marquette. Some didn’t included the Boilermakers in their finalists, such Southport’s Paul Scruggs and North Central’s Kris Wilkes.
However, the depth of the 2017 class leaves Purdue with other options. Evanston, Illinois’ Nigel Eastern and Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Xavier Tillman officially visited last month. Other known targets include Pickerington (Ohio) Central power forward Sterling Manley, California forward Evan Battey, Ohio wing Kyle Young and Australian center Jacob Epperson, who also now plays at La Lumiere.
Contact Journal & Courier Purdue sports reporter Nathan Baird at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @nbairdjc.