Updated: Jun 11, 2022
When Pro Insight last checked in with Gregory “GG” Jackson, he was one of the standouts of the Tarkanian Classic in December 2021 and was highly ranked by the major services. Since 2022 started, and these services released their latest rankings on the high school class of 2023, Jackson has gained further momentum, even garnering the number-one spot in the junior class on Rivals. Already coming close to having a pro body, the forward has fine-tuned his game, combining his athleticism and agility with a skill set that makes him fit with just about any line-up.
At 6’9”, Jackson brings ball skills and playmaking, along with defensive versatility that have many envisioning just how high he can go in the 2024 NBA draft. It is indeed a long way away, however with continued improvement in skill development coupled with his combination of physical and athletic tools, the sky appears to be the limit. In the meantime, he is truly becoming one of the marquee names among his peer group. With his recruitment filled with blue bloods and high majors, he has taken some significant visits recently, with more on the horizon.
In our latest interview with GG Jackson, Pro Insight’s Andrew Slater made the trip to South Carolina to learn more about the elite prospect. In their discussion, Jackson goes further into his process, as he talks about what he has been doing to get to where is today. He also breaks down official visits to Duke, Georgetown and North Carolina, talks about his family background, which characteristics he gets from his parents, his upcoming local visit to South Carolina, his teammates with Team CP3, a timeline for his decision, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Gregory “GG” Jackson, from Columbia, South Carolina:
Pro Insight: I wanted to discuss your growth and improvement. People keep mentioning your improvement since the summer. Do you think that’s accurate and how do you account for it?
GG Jackson: It’s definitely accurate. The team that they assembled on the AAU circuit, it was a crazy test experiment. It could have went well, but we fell short, but it definitely shows growth. I was a big man getting a bunch of rebounds and blocking shots. I still had that aspect of the game, but playing with those guys and training with them opened up a different part of my game.
PI: I remember asking Kyrie, when he first started to blow up, if it was a matter of people noticing it or had he really improved…and he thought it was just people noticing. What about your situation?
GJ: I feel like a combination. I feel like I could always do the things that I can do, but now it’s just a matter of me polishing it up. Tightening up some things.
PI: What’s the next stage of your development?
GJ: Becoming a better leader. I feel like I want to take over all the games.
PI: In terms of leadership, do you want to be more vocal?
GJ: Yes, sir. I want to be more vocal, stuff like calling a huddle and stuff like that.
PI: What are you looking to do physically? Obviously, you’ve got a good frame. What do you try to do?
GJ: I want to add on muscle so bad, but the more I try to eat, the more I burn. It keeps adding and then going away. So, I think if I keep going at it, I’ll get in better shape.
PI: What advice do you have for younger kids? How did you get to be like this? What’s your typical day like?
GJ: A typical day, you gotta wake up and stretch, definitely. That’s really important. I try to stretch as soon as I get out of the bed, so when we have those early morning practices, it’s about six. That’s about three days a week. Obviously, you’ve got to eat well. Depending on your schedule, you’ve got to work some kind of weight room time in. It doesn’t have to be basketball, it could be film, working on different combinations of moves. I definitely sit down with myself and not really talk to myself, but I kind of think of different combinations of moves that I could try to do.
PI: Do you watch a lot of college or NBA? Who do you like to watch?
GJ: Player-wise in college, definitely a lot of Paolo (Banchero). He was one of my favorite players coming out of high school. In the NBA, guys like Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum.
PI: I wanted to talk about resiliency, for you. Do you consider yourself resilient and, if so, have an example of a game?
GJ: Yes, sir. During the Bash last year, when we lost to Orlando Christian, that was the worst game I ever played in my life. The next game, I came back out on fire, you know, to get back in the mindset of having a killer mode.
PI: What aspects of your personality do you get from your parents?
GJ: I feel like some of my toughness and attitude on the court, like I can be all smiles and laughing, but I can also turn….
PI: You can be a killer.
GJ: Yeah, I can get serious. I definitely get that from my mom, she’s the tough one.
PI: What about your dad?
GJ: My ability to talk well with the guys.
PI: Your leadership?
GJ: Yes, my leadership.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years? The NBA?
GJ: Like you said, the NBA, if not, some other high level form of basketball.
PI: Do you think you’d be a starter? I’m sure you have dreams of that.
GJ: I definitely think my skill-set can make an impact in the NBA.
PI: How do you think your work ethic has differentiated you from some of your other peers?
GJ: I definitely feel like guys on the team definitely look up to me and want to get in the position that I am in and, hopefully God-willing, one day they can. Donovan is one of the guys on the team that I used to get early morning practices in and now he’s fielding that slot, he’ll be in the gym at 5:30 five days a week and getting in the work and it’s definitely rubbing off on a lot of us. It goes very deep, it’s just a matter of us coming together and having that mind-set.
PI: Fans are always interested in recruiting. How was the recent Duke visit?
GJ: It was great. The atmosphere, you couldn’t even hear yourself think. Getting to sit behind the bench, getting to see how Coach K coaches, it definitely makes you think about ways you can imagine yourself. I see a lot of similarities between him and Coach Stoneman. They kind of sit the same and they always have the clipboard on their side drawing up different plays.
PI: Was it different than you anticipated?
GJ: I didn’t think it would be that crazy. It was very loud. I didn’t know the fans would know me as well as they did. It was a crazy experience.
PI: What was their message to you?
GJ: They were telling me that they were producing guys like me, in my position and my size, and that there’s no other place like Duke.
PI: Did you talk to Paolo about his experience?
GJ: I didn’t really get a full, full conversation with him, but he definitely gave me some pointers, you know, always stay in the gym. Work on what you do best and still find time to work on your weaknesses.
PI: Anything else with the Duke visit?
GJ: Coach Scheyer, when I first got there, him and all the rest of the coaching staff, they broke down the situation of how the team would be if I was to go there, with the guys who have left and the guys who have stayed. It’s been on my mind since I’ve left and it was like a perfect fit with the guards and bigs.
PI: The prior one was Georgetown.
GJ: Yes, that was definitely an emotional visit. It was the only visit where my mother actually broke down in tears and cried. It was uplifting to see a guy that’s my size, that looked like me and talked like me, that can be in that position and hold that position.
PI: I saw the Georgetown jersey — was that from Malcolm (Wilson)?
PI: What was that like meeting with Coach Ewing?
GJ: It was definitely a dream come true to spend that much time with an NBA legend and try to learn from him the different aspects of the basketball game I didn’t know. You talk about Malcolm, he was at Ridge View and he’s kind of like a big brother, always giving me pointers and always telling me, ‘Georgetown!’
PI: What did you learn about them through that whole experience? Was it different there than you anticipated?
GJ: Yes, it actually was. The coaching staff, the preparation that they have, just paragraphs and paragraphs on every player on the opposite team, so if you don’t know something, it’s basically your fault. So, definitely the preparation. They have guys like me in my size and Coach Ewing, he told me he wants me to be his Patrick Ewing.
PI: You mentioned you do a lot more film work these days.
GJ: Yes, sir.
PI: How has that helped take your game to another level?
GJ: You definitely get an edge up in the game. You can know what moves guys are going to do. You can recall back to it. Last year, I didn’t like watching film at all, but once you break it down and watch ten minutes here and ten minutes there, it all comes back together.
PI: The UNC visit — you did both an unofficial and an official there. What was that like?
GJ: That was definitely a dream come true. Me and my dad, we’ve been wanting to go there for a long time. We’ve been talking about that since I was a little kid, so that was definitely a fun experience. It’s another coach that looks like me and talks like me and to be in that big of a position.
PI: What was the difference like between the unofficial and the official?
GJ: I got to spend a little bit more time with the team. “Puff” Johnson, he took me around a lot of the time. He’s a cool guy. Me and him, we shared some of the music tastes. We’re not big on rap. We listen to jazz and stuff like that. So, it was definitely fun to see a guy like that.
PI: So he was your guide?
PI: But you liked that experience?
GJ: Yeah, it was dope.
PI: You mentioned you were there for a game — was it football?
GJ: Yeah, it was a football game. I think they beat Miami, but we left in the middle of the game and I got to sit in the guys’ team was talking with the girls’ team, so I got to experience that too. It was awesome.
PI: And you’ve got the South Carolina visit coming up?
GJ: Yes, sir.
PI: I’m sure you’ve done unofficials there. What are you anticipating? What do you know about that program? It’s obviously very close.
GJ: Yes, I’ve gone to a lot of camps at South Carolina from middle school all the way up until now. I feel like there’s gonna be way more love than there usually is. I’m kind of expecting it and I’m also excited for that.
PI: Hometown hero.
GJ: Yeah, hometown hero. They send me a lot of different pictures where they animate me on things. It’s crazy to believe how far I’ve come, that I could be in that position to uplift the team in that way.
PI: What was it like when you were younger? You must have dreamed of playing in college and God-willing, the NBA? Is it amazing to now be in your position?
GJ: It is, it is. I didn’t believe I was gonna make it this far. I didn’t know what college basketball or NBA basketball was, but I knew who the Tar Heels were because my father always had that. It was just the love of the game. I loved hearing the ball bouncing, I loved hearing the hoop swooshing.
PI: When did you know you’d be good?
GJ: It was seventh grade. We were playing Fairfield Central in a middle school game and I only had like two points and one rebound. That one, I was an emotional kid and I was in the car crying to my mom and she told me there’s a time and a season for all things and that right now, it might not have been my season, but when it’s your time, you gotta let your light shine. And then it was the championship game and I had a crazy double double. After that game, it seemed like the fans would come over and I felt like I could be special. I was like 6’3” in seventh grade.
PI: Defensively, you mentioned the blocked shots. When did the defense come to your game? The rim protection?
GJ: The rim protection has always been there since I first started playing basketball. My dad told me, ‘You’re the biggest thing on the court. You have to make your presence known. You were built to intimidate.’
PI: Who is the best big man you have had to guard?
GJ: I would have to go with Mackenzie (Mgbako). He was making some crazy shots. It was bad. He had like twenty-five or thirty on us in a game to go to the championship. It was in Philadelphia, I think. This was back when I first came to CP3. I thought I was good, but that really hit home for me then.
PI: You played with (Robert) Dillingham. Are you surprised by his success?
GJ: Not at all. I always thought he was underrated, even when he was playing with Team United. He was still that guy. Still did all that same stuff that he does now. But to see him take off the way he did and so fast, it was kind of scary. I didn’t think he’d be able to handle it, but he’s handling it.
PI: I asked Aden (Holloway) about you because they wanted me to see La Lumiere and I asked, ‘Did you see this coming?’ and he was like, ‘I saw some of it, but he was doing rim-running and rebounding.”
GJ: Yes, sir. When I first got there, I’d seen Aden on social media because he was the face of CP3, so I was kind of in his shadow. So, to finally step out of his shadow, it felt good.
PI: So, for the South Carolina visit, are you looking forward to it? What do you know about their program?
GJ: I know Coach Frank Martin, he’s a tough coach to play for and you have to be a special type of player to be able to hold in all the information he’s given you and be able to take what he’s getting on you and correct those mistakes.
PI: I’m sure you are goal-oriented. What are some goals that you’re targeting now? What were some before?
GJ: My goal coming into high school was getting a state championship and I feel like I didn’t win that one. It was the older guys on the team, but it still felt great to win. My goal now is to get the National Player of the Year for South Carolina. PJ Hall did a couple of years ago. He was tough, man. I would get nervous around him. I mean, that’s PJ Hall. And still to this day, if I’m on the court with a celebrity player, I still am like, ‘Oh my God.’ And it’s an amazing feeling. I didn’t believe I would make it this far in life, so it’s definitely still exciting.
PI: You obviously still have that hunger. What are your new goals for the long-term?
GJ: I want people to see me as the best player in the country. A guy that can get in the league, but stay in there.
PI: You know, talking about some of the greats before, do you hope that in twenty years, you’ll be considered one of the greats?
GJ: Definitely would like to be the next big thing. When I was at Duke, I got an opportunity to talk with Zion Williamson a little bit. That was wild. That was wild. He was like, ‘I’ve been watching you for a while.’ And I was like, ‘Is he just saying that to say that?’ And he was like, ‘No man, I always keep up with the top players from South Carolina. I was in the same exact position as you.’ So, to hear that, it definitely boosts my confidence to hear I could be one of those top guys.
PI: Who are some of the next wave after you? I saw Cam Scott.
GJ: Definitely Cam. I feel like Josh, our point guard, a sophomore. He has a shot once he comes out of his shell and gets a little more freedom. He’s going to be special.
PI: What’s your timeline for a decision?
GJ: Definitely after my visit with South Carolina. I want to take my visits and then focus on the playoffs and winning a state championship. After that, I’ll definitely have my list in the spring before the AAU season.
PI: Is there a lot of pressure locally?
GJ: Not really. At first, there definitely was a lot of pressure, but it’s definitely calmed down and I’ve gotten to a point in my mind where I can block out those distractions.
PI: Is football bigger down here or basketball?
GJ: Football, but I feel like basketball with me and what we’re doing and definitely with Cam, we’re ranked really high. So, I feel like there could definitely be a turning point.
PI: With Overtime, I know that they approached you. What was that like? Obviously, it’s flattering that they want you.
GJ: Yes, sir. My biggest thing was that I didn’t want to leave school. That was the main thing. It was a good experience, it gave me an approach of what I can expect from a professional.
PI: What do you think you need to work on to get ready for the NBA level?
GJ: Definitely my toughness and being consistent. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a lot of guys in the league who are very consistent. It’s kind of odd to see guys be inconsistent. I feel like if I get that down perfectly, I’ll get into the league.
PI: Is there a weight you’re trying to target?
GJ: I don’t know if I can reach 220-225, but I definitely want to get there. I’m at 210, so I have ten more pounds to add on.
PI: Do you use Muscle Milk?
GJ: My mom put me onto that a couple of months ago, so I’m definitely doing that and eating a lot of peanut butter.
PI: Ultimately, what are you looking for in a school?
GJ: I want to go somewhere where it can get me to the league. I feel like that’s my next step. For high school, it was to get me the best I can for the college level. And I want to get a good education because the ball is going to stop bouncing eventually. And places like the Brotherhood and UNC, where they still have a connection with different alumni and in Georgetown, getting those connections and developing a network.