GG Jackson rants in social media video about not getting ball in USC loss to Arkansas

Sam Wolfe/Special To The State

GG Jackson expressed frustration on social media Saturday after South Carolina’s 65-63 home loss to Arkansas.

The much-hyped 18-year-old freshman star had a quiet game by his standards against the Razorbacks, scoring 9 points on 3-of-8 shooting as the Gamecocks (8-15, 1-9 SEC) dropped their seventh-straight game. After the game, Jackson broadcast himself live on Instagram from the Gamecocks’ locker room and said the ball should’ve been in his hands more — especially in the game’s final seconds. A replay of Jackson’s video made the rounds afterward on Twitter.

“Why don’t I have the ball in my hands when it’s crunch time?” Jackson said to more than 120 viewers. “Ain’t I supposed be that quote-unquote, ‘Oh my God, GG..’ I don’t see myself as that, but ain’t I supposed to be that? Just give me that (expletive). I’m not even getting plays drawn up for me in crunch time.”

Down by two points, the Gamecocks had a chance for a last-ditch play with 2.2 seconds left on the clock, but the ball found its way to center Josh Gray, who heaved a desperation 3-pointer well out of his shooting range that clanked off the backboard.

Though Jackson said plays weren’t drawn up for him, head coach Lamont Paris said after the game that the last play was designed to get the ball to Jackson.

“The ball was in the exact spot it was supposed to be, but it was supposed to be GG catching the ball there,” Paris said. “They switch the original screen, and I’ll have to watch it again, but it looked like GG detoured in order to get open.

“GG is our best athlete. I wanted at worst a jump-ball situation in that scenario and that spot right there. ... The original intent was for GG to catch it there with Meechie (Johnson) following behind.”

Jackson, a Columbia native and star at Ridge View High School, has been in the college basketball spotlight for quite some time. After initially committing to play to North Carolina as the No. 1 player in the 2024 recruiting class, Jackson decommitted, reclassified to the 2023 class and committed to Paris and the Gamecocks.

At the time it was viewed as a seismic win for Paris and USC on the recruiting trail. And for the most part, Jackson has lived up to his future NBA promise, leading the Gamecocks in scoring (16.1 points per game) and rebounding (6.6 per game) heading into the loss against the Hogs.

But there have been freshman lapses from Jackson, too — moments where his body language has slipped or his effort is lacking in getting down the court. Paris benched Jackson to start the second half against Tennessee on Jan. 7 for those exact reasons, and he challenged Jackson during halftime at Georgetown after he went scoreless in the first half.

Jackson’s play is one of the few bright spots for a thin USC team in a transitional year. Given his NBA-level promise, the 6-foot-9 forward might only play a single season in Columbia. Although during the same Instagram live broadcast, Jackson hinted the exact opposite could be the case.

“I don’t even know what I’m doing next year,” Jackson said. “I’m thinking about staying. I don’t know.

“... I can’t even transfer if I stay next year. I already done betrayed one school. I can’t do it to another one.”

Jackson and the Gamecocks are scheduled to play at Missouri on Tuesday.