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DURHAM – The chants started late in the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium: “G.G. Jackson, sit with us! G.G. Jackson, sit with us!”
Sitting directly behind the Duke men’s basketball bench on his official visit to the school, Jackson didn’t need much convincing. Seconds later, the five-star 2023 power forward from South Carolina and No. 8 recruit in the nation per 247Sports ambled over and situated himself among the Cameron Crazies.
And that’s where Jackson took in a large chunk of the No. 6 Blue Devils’ blowout win over Syracuse on Saturday. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking, as Duke’s student section has been calling recruits over for years, but it was a rare public glimpse at a 2023 recruitment shaping up to one of the Triangle’s biggest.
Jackson, a do-it-all big man from Columbia’s Ridge View High School, currently holds four 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions to commit to UNC basketball and first-year coach Hubert Davis. But as he works through his official visits, he has gently reiterated that there’s no runaway favorite in his ongoing recruitment.
That sets up a rivalry inflection point, with Davis’ Tar Heels and coach-to-be Jon Scheyer’s Blue Devils potentially going head-to-head to land Jackson’s commitment before AAU basketball season starts in April.
He told Sports Illustrated's Jason Jordan of his timeline last month: “I feel like definitely before the AAU circuit starts. I have no idea what I’m going to do at this point, but I know I have to get a decision done.”
G.G. Jackson's timeline
GG Jackson a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ power forward from Columbia, SC in on hand for today’s Duke vs Syracuse game. pic.twitter.com/Qf4YUNROEF
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) January 22, 2022
Jackson has officially visited Georgetown and will officially visit hometown school South Carolina in February. This month, he picked up offers from No. 1 Auburn, the hottest team in college basketball, as well as the start-up Overtime Elite league and NBA-backed G-League Ignite team. Virginia’s around, too.
But UNC and Duke, both of whom had immediate success on the 2022 recruiting trail last year, remain legitimate contenders. Both programs offered Jackson scholarships in June, and Davis executed an early full-court press by taking his entire UNC staff to scout and visit with Jackson at Ridge View in September.
Jackson also unofficially visited UNC over the summer before returning for an October official, and by mid-December four 247Sports insiders had logged predictions for Jackson to choose the Tar Heels.
Last weekend’s official visit gave Duke, which has pitched Jackson on playing a Paolo Banchero-esque role, a golden opportunity to make up some ground. In Durham, Jackson mingled with Duke’s coaching staff as well as Sean Stewart, the four-star forward Florida power forward who committed last month.
“My favorite part was sitting down with the coaches and talking about how the team would look with me,” Jackson told Jamie Shaw of On3 Sports after his visit. “They said how they produce guys like me, and they compared me to Paolo and told me how they want me to play in his position.”
And when Jackson posted an Instagram collage from the trip – in one shot, he posed in a Duke jersey alongside associate head coaches Scheyer and Chris Carrawell, assistant Nolan Smith and director of player development Amile Jefferson – others hopped into his comment section for a recruiting assist.
“Love it,” wrote Duke commit Stewart, the No. 28 overall recruit in the class who’s grown close with Jackson since the summer and sat with him Saturday (he also joined Jackson in the student section).
“Teammates?” asked Mackenzie Mgbako, a five-star 2023 small forward from New Jersey and the nation’s No. 3 overall recruit who currently holds four Crystal Ball predictions to choose the Blue Devils.
“I like this,” wrote five-star 2023 California shooting guard and Duke target Jared McCain.
Current Blue Devils Wendell Moore Jr. and Jaylen Blakes, 2022 signees Mark Mitchell and Jaden Schutt and even Jayson Tatum, the former Duke forward now starring for the Boston Celtics, popped up under Jackson’s Instagram post to nudge him toward Duke, currently 15-3 and ranked No. 9 in the AP Top 25.
Duke’s six-man class of 2022, which includes five-stars Dereck Lively II, Dariq Whitehead, Kyle Filipowski and Mitchell, ranks first in the country, per the 247Sports composite. Scheyer’s 2023 class is also No. 1 in the country, to date, with commitments from Stewart and five-star Virginia point guard Caleb Foster.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Duke basketball, Jon Scheyer host 5-star recruit G.G. Jackson for visit