[Endless Motor]

Basketball opened their 2020 recruiting class today with a commitment from OH PG Zeb Jackson, a rapidly-rising prospect who gathered early offers from virtually all of the Midwest basketball powers. Jackson is very close with Zavier Simpson and his dad; Jackson told Josh Henschke that Quincy is "like his uncle." Ace wondered if we'll find out that it's actually "Xeb" next year and now I desperately want this to happen.

Despite the Simpson connection, Jackson is basically the opposite kind of point guard. He's tall—6'3" according to his coach. He's a shooter coming off a 39% from 3, 81% from the line AAU season. And some of the main Areas For Improvement that get mentioned by scouts involve his defensive chops and level of commitment.

To the various subject headings:


Rivals ESPN 24/7 Composite
4*, #72 overall
#16 PG
NR 4*, #58 overall
#17 SG, #2 OH
4*, #66 overall
#18 SG, #2 OH

ESPN only has a top 60 for 2020 basketball recruits and Jackson is not inside it. Rivals and 24/7 are in fairly close agreement except when it comes to his position. Michigan is saying he's a point guard.

Jackson might have more upward mobility. He's already risen since June, when he was an unranked three-star, and has shot up from 5'9" as a freshman to a coach-reported 6'3". As he fills that new height out and maybe gets another inch or two he could creep up into the top 50.


Prep Hoops, which is an Ohio-based scouting service that took in a bunch of AAU events over the summer, named him their player of the year after the AAU season concluded:

efficient wing scorer equally capable of hitting a pull-up jumper off a crossover as he is an athletic lefty finish through traffic. He has an uncanny ability to get separation. …

Throughout the previous eight UAA circuit games leading up to the Finals, Jackson averaged 13.5 points (43-39-81 shooting splits) and 3.8 rebounds with a circuit-leading 3.1-1.0 assist/turnover ratio.

… Jackson also became, a better defender this season, showing high-IQ in the help-side, elusiveness in defending a ball-handler in the pick-and-roll, and lateral quickness against the ball. 

“This year he took a big jump defensively,” Clarke said. “Last year playing up on our 16s, there was time he struggled on the defensive end one-on-one. If you’re going to play at a high-major level, and you know he’s that type of kid, he’s going to have to guard a kid and keep people in front of you. I think this year, especially July, he did a phenomenal job of doing that.”

If the video below is any indication the weak two-point shooting splits are due to a lot of mid-range pull-ups. He looks good when he does it but those shots are always tough. The 39% from three and 81% from the line indicate a guy who is a potential pro-level shooter. Jackson might be a work in progress inside the line early in his career. But then again he's a 2020 so it may work out just fine.

Other takes from Prep Hoops:

His ability to create separation and hit with range off the dribble is unique. As he continues to add consistency from the 3-point line, Jackson closes the gap between production and potential.


Zeb is a long, lean guard with tons of speed and quickness. He’s scoring the ball at a high level mixing and matching everything he has with his shooting, slashing, and finishing ability. He’s really tough and plays at a level faster than everyone else. Showed dynamic separation ability and the jumper looks like a much better weapon than a year ago.


We stopped by one of Jackson’s games on Saturday afternoon and he had one of those absurd three-possession stretches that are becoming routine for him. First, he came down and nailed a triple after jab stepping. Then, Jackson finished off a sloppy possession with a baseline one-foot fall-away shot. Zeb, now feeling it at this point, then did the Durant ball-fake hesitation move (go to 0:28 of this video) to scoot by a defender and get into the lane. His scoring ability is top notch. We’d like him to be more involved defensively though.

Endless Motor also caught him at a couple of events:

…displayed a great looking shot from the perimeter, knocking down multiple threes with range out to 28 feet. While his outside shot dominates the highlight reels, we were most impressed with his ability to create easy shots for teammates. Jackson has great first step acceleration, a nice handle and elite vision which allowed him to repeatedly beat his primary defender and find teammates on dumpoffs and kickouts once helpside defense collapsed on him. His open court speed was also noteworthy, as Zeb kicked it into another gear on a loose ball and won a footrace to the rim before finishing with the off hand.


A true point guard with great size at 6’3, Zeb has great vision as a passer and is phenomenal as a playmaker that creates easy looks for teammates. A fluid athlete with good first step acceleration and a good handle, Jackson thrives breaking a defense down off the bounce while also having a legit stroke from beyond the arch as a scorer.

His high school coach:

“He can distribute. … He’s a big point guard. He’s starting to fill out. Muscle and all that is coming along and he’s only a sophomore. I think he’s going to grow a little bit more yet. He’s got great explosion. His skill level is off the charts. I think that’s what a lot of the college coaches are seeing is just his skill, his knowledge of the game.”

“His work ethic is by far the best I’ve seen,” he said. “He just lives in the gym.”

And 247:

… making good strides with his game as he continues to grow. Jackson is a natural scorer who can put points on the board in a major way. Now he is also passing the ball a bit better, and even showed more of a commitment on the defensive end. This weekend might have asserted Jackson as the top guard in the state of Ohio in his class.

Some guy on a Butler board who accurately projected he was going to blow up:

Overall I absolutely love him. The more I saw him the more convinced I became that he's the type of guard that should be a primary target for Butler in the 2020 class. He's a true combo guard that I'd predict will end up being a 4 star. I think he can crack the top 50. He's got the length to defend off the ball and the lateral quickness to defend point guards. Jackson has a lightning quick crossover that he uses frequently to get anywhere on the court he wants. He was one of the best defensive guards I saw in his class, and his offense is just as good as his defense. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well from the perimeter, but his shot looked smooth, so I suspect that was a fluke. Looks like he is shooting 39% from 3 in the Under Armour association, which supports my thought that he normally knocks down a lot of the shots he was missing this weekend.

He's going to have a flood of offers coming in over the next 3 months. I really hope Butler is one of them. He's ridiculously talented and also feels like a good fit.

So, some conflicting information about his defensive involvement that may be a player realizing he's got to get better on that end and starting to get after it. Some somewhat cautionary notes about his shooting mixed in with high praise for it. Pretty universal declarations that he's a true point guard that are backed up by an excellent A:TO ratio from AAU ball.

A true point guard with big upside.

[After THE JUMP: all the local powers offer]

Brian Lewerke running
Me up hyear, you dere. [Bryan Fuller]

The Sponsor:

It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. He's got a Podcast about it called Finding True Wealth. And he also recently put together an online tool you can use to plan your finances. And you probably heard me say that last week but thought "I'm focused on this rivalry game; my financial future can wait until the bye week." Well, it's the bye week.

Legal disclosure in itty bitty font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.


The Question:

Brian: Does anyone know how to make a twitter bot? Because a rutger twitter bot would really make this a thing.

David: Man, it must be the bye week.

Brian: We're making fetch happen david.

David: @brian I had to urban dictionary that.

BiSB: Fetch?

David: Yeah.


David: I tried to watch it 3 years ago and fell asleep

BiSB: /giphy She doesn't even go here

Smoothitron: Confession: one of my first big gifs was the Mean Girls with the M QBs but I haven't actually seen it either.

David: +1!

Smoothitron: Like with most cultural touchstones I just read the WP article. The list of things I have not seen would shock and horrify you.

Brian: ANYWAY since it's the bye week we have some time to contemplate deep philosophical questions like WHY HASN'T ANYONE SEEN MEAN GIRLS and this from the mathlete:

TWO: What happens next, where does the rivalry go from here now that Michigan is competent and capable?

I will cede the floor to folks who have not already made their desires to burn MSU to the ground and salt the earth plain.


The responses:

Smoothitron: It will continue entirely on Twitter, because as a lifelong Indiana resident I have only ever met 1 MSU fan in person. He was a middle school PE teacher and would loudly curse at us when he beat us at badminton.

Brian: Were you in middle school at the time?

Smoothitron: I was. 3rd place finisher in the badminton tourney. My claim to fame since I lost all the spelling bees.

David: I was wondering where all the bees went

Brian: I feel like you have gotten the authentic MSU fan experience through this one guy.

Smoothitron: He was also the D-Line coach at the high school so I have to figure.

He never coached me because I quit football after middle school to focus on the Academic team.

Seth: I unfortunately know many many many Spartans, and all were Michigan fans or neutral until they did not get into Michigan. As long as you do not trigger the Spartan vein they are all very nice people. Once you do, you get facial expressions from Lie to Me and find yourself in a very "oh crap we're talking politics" conversation.

Brian: This is somewhat orthogonal to the desired thrust of conversation.

Has Order Been Restored, folks?

[After THE JUMP: panicpanic[12]panic[15]panic[18]panic[23]panic[27]panic[33]panic[36]panic[40]panic[44]?]

Paul Bunyan Trophy
[Patrick Barron]

I haven’t done one of these in awhile but with the bye week beginning and official content about to slow here it’s high time we revisit some of the excellent stuff our readership has been putting out.

Stop Beating Me to Neck Sharpies You Guys!

Because he’s Brian’s favorite poster on the board, Stephen RJ King was invited to be a mod this summer. He declined citing not enough time. Apparently he has enough time on Sundays however to beat me to every play I want to Neck Sharpies. Knowing I’ve got 2 weeks to fill off this one, yesterday he grabbed FIVE(!!!) plays to break down from the MSU game. Last week he got to Shea’s 81-yard run before I could. If he draws up Belly and/or trap coverage before PSU I swear I’m locking his account and he’ll have to apply for mod status to unlock it. Jerk.

Another recent film analyst trying to terk er jerbs is FanNamedOzzy, who’s been going through each game and offering his analysis with a little video. Again, if this starts to replace UFR we’re going to have to take some action.

Taking L’s

BursleyHall82 mentioned on the board that State is 0-2 in hoops and 0-1 in football against Michigan in The Year of Our Lord 2018. I know they’re 0-3 against Michigan (with a shootout) in hockey so far but that’s just three of 27 varsity sports fielded by Michigan, and 23 that MSU also competes in. M vs MSU in 2018:

  • Men’s Sports: Football: 1-0, Basketball 2-0, Hockey 3-0, Baseball 4-0, CC: 2-0*, Golf: 2-1**, Swim&Dive 2-0, Wrestling 1-0, Track&Field 3-0**
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball 1-1, Field Hockey 2-0, Golf 0-1, Gymnastics 3-0, Rowing 2-0, Soccer 1-0, Softball 2-1, Swim&Dive 2-0, Tennis 2-0, T&F: 2-0, and Rowing 1-0

* not counting an exhibition race in EL sans full lineups
** based on who finished higher in invitationals

So that’s 41-4 this year, maybe more because I couldn’t figure out women’s rowing (I have a text in to a member of the team) [UPDATED]. Men’s Soccer is tomorrow, B1G Tennis Tournament is this weekend. Volleyball has two games in November and the hockey weekend is Nov. 30/Dec. 1.

[After THE JUMP: graphs, conspiracies, Murderwolf, and all the other great things you've come to expect from MGoBloggers]

The Big Ten's middle looks to be better than it was last year - but it couldn't be worse.

Jim Harbaugh is unhappy about this situation

Jim Harbaugh talks to the media for his weekly press conference.

Michigan loses the heir apparent at RT in a bizarre transfer decision

class is not systematically tolerating steroid abuse, sexual assault, regular assault, and extreme drunk driving