DETROIT — Josh Jackson was double-teamed, but it had nothing to do with the Throwdown in Motown.
It had everything to do with Michigan State-bound Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston wanting the 6-foot-9 Jackson to join them at MSU next season.
MSU coach Tom Izzo has already signed Bridges of Flint and Huntington (WVa.) Prep, Winston of Detroit Jesuit, Josh Langford of Huntsville, Ala. and Nick Ward of Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln and Bridges was giving Jackson the sales pitch before, during and after Jackson’s Prolific Prep team defeated Huntington Prep, 100-80, Monday at HYPE Recreation Center in Dearborn Heights.
“That’s our boy,” Bridges said of Jackson. “I’ve been knowing him since real little. We’re trying to get him on the team. We’ll have great chemistry.”
Jackson and Bridges are good friends and the most recent recruiting pitch wasn’t anything new.
“It’s pretty much every time I see him,” Jackson said of Bridges. “Him, Cassius, Nick Ward, Josh Langford — I’m pretty much friends with all those guys and they pretty much attack me all the time trying to get me to commit.”
It’s worth the attack. Jackson was his typical amazing self in scoring 22 points and directing Prolific Prep to the victory. It was recently reported that Jackson had narrowed his choices to MSU and Arizona — Arizona coach Sean Miller was at the game — but Jackson said the report was inaccurate.
He said he is still considering MSU, Arizona, Kansas, UNLV and Maryland and doesn’t expect to decide on one until late February. Despite weather conditions that thinned the crowd, Arizona coach Sean Miller was among those in the stands. Reports have said Jackson is down to Michigan State and Arizona.
This was the first time, other than in AAU ball, that Jackson played in the state since he led Detroit Consortium to the Class C state championship his sophomore year and he is even better now than he was then.
“Obviously with age I’ve become bigger, stronger, faster,” he said. “But I feel like as time went on I got smarter as a player going through experience — playing a lot of games. Winning and losing I’ve figured out how to win more, I guess.”
Jackson still plays a lot of point guard and unlike a lot of guys on either team he actually looks to pass to the open player.
“I like to win and I know what it takes to win,” he said. “I’ll do everything in my power I can to help my team whether that’s rebound, defend, score pass — whatever it may be.”
At times the game seemed to be more of an AAU game where whoever has the ball shoots it and defense is just a place to rest until you get the ball back.
The shocking part was that a player took a charge and there actually was one shot clock violation.
Jackson and Bridges both scored 22 points and both had their moments. Nothing was better that when Jackson stole the ball, raced down the floor, threw the ball off the backboard and dunked it.
“To see the crowd’s reaction was probably the funnest part for me,” Jackson said. “I know Miles can outjump me any day and when I saw that dunk my mind was just blown. I didn’t even know what to say.”
Jackson let his play do his talking for him and he was terrific, which is why Winston made a point of being in the crowd.
Bridges, 6-7, was relentless in his pursuit of Jackson and knows they are more than compatible no matter which one lines up at the No. 2 guard spot or at small forward.
“For sure, we’ve got to get him on the squad,” Bridges insisted. “He plays the same position as me, but I know Coach Izzo will work it out for us.”
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In the earlier game Monday, Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) beat Athlete Institute from Orangeville, Ontario by a score of 89-76. Rawle Alkins had 29 points and was named the game’s MVP. Thon Maker had 24 points and 14 rebounds for Athlete Institute.
USA TODAY High School Sports contributed to this report