It’s hard to look away when Kansas commit Elmarko Jackson is on the basketball court.
The five-star guard has a level of athleticism rarely seen in high school seniors. His jumping ability is reminiscent of when you double-tap a button to jump high in a video game.
Jackson’s athleticism was on full display in the 2023 McDonald’s All-America Game Tuesday night in Houston.
The 6-foot-3 guard from South Kent (Connecticut) High School, scored seven points on 3-of-6 shooting in the East team’s 109-106 victory. He added one assist against three turnovers and grabbed one rebound while playing 18 minutes.
Jackson is the No. 22-ranked player in the recruiting Class of 2023 by espn.com and 247sports.com.
Now, let’s take a closer look at Jackson’s scoring performance.
On Jackson’s first basket, he showed off his elite first step. The guard quickly maneuvered through the defense and got his layup off before the West big man and Arkansas signee Baye Fall could block the shot.
Jackson’s strengths include his quickness and ability to finish through contact. Here, he demonstrated how speedy he is overall. And just as important, he can change speeds when driving, which is another valuable asset.
Last season, KU players had varying levels of consistency in success at driving to the rim — Jackson’s ability to consistently put pressure on the defense will lead to easy Kansas points and put opposing players in foul trouble.
With his second made basket, Jackson showcased his deep ball. Future Kentucky Wildcat DJ Wagner hit Jackson with a pass to the right side. Jackson jab-stepped a couple of times, but West defender Bronny James didn’t close the gap in time and Jackson canned the three-pointer.
On this shot, James stuck to the scouting report on Jackson, but it didn’t work out. With Jackson’s ability as a driver he could’ve blown by James had James closed out hard. Jackson realized that and took the three-pointer before James could recover and fully contest the shot.
Jackson’s three-point shot is still a bit inconsistent, but this shot was a good sign. He relies more on his slashing ability, but if he’s playing alongside KU guard Dajuan Harris, the Jayhawks will need both players to be aggressive and take shots from beyond the arc to keep the defense honest.
Finally, Jackson’s third make perfectly exemplifies his impressive leaping ability. Kentucky commit Justin Edwards forced a turnover and heaved an upcourt pass to Jackson, who then violently dunked the ball.
Jackson was wide-open for the dunk, but his leaping and dunking ability was still impressive. There’s not much to take from this play other than that Kansas fans can expect plenty of highlight-worthy moments and dunks from Jackson.