2016 Vance Jackson does not like to lose.
Whether it’s a high school game or the first tournament of the AAU season, the 6’8 wing out of St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) hates walking off the court in defeat with the same passion that he loves winning.
So when Point Guard U caught up with Jackson after his summer team, Dream Vision, dropped a game at the Adidas Gauntlet in Indianapolis, he was not in the best of moods.
“To be honest, I really think we lost because of me,” Jackson said. “I came out of the game at a crucial point when we had momentum, so when I got taken out, the momentum got messed up.”
That’s another thing about Jackson. He isn’t afraid to wear his confidence on his sleeve.
When asked whether he takes pride in causing on-court matchups problems, he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I don’t think anyone here can guard me,” he said. “I don’t think anyone here in this Gauntlet can guard me.”
With that demeanor, maybe it’s no surprise that the Arizona coaching staff has told Jackson they want him to come in and play like Stanley Johnson or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Jackson knows a lot has to happen before he can get to the level of those two wings, who should both be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft next month.
But that doesn’t stop him from approaching each game with the mindset that he’s one of the best players on the court. There’s more to Jackson’s game than just talk.
He has prototypical wing size and a long wingspan, allowing him to finish over most defenders. Jackson can also shoot from anywhere on the court and has a reliable three-point stroke, forcing opponents to stretch the floor to guard him.
While Jackson’s post-play is developing, he has added a good deal of strength, thus giving him some more presence down low.
In his own words, he can do a bit of everything.
“If you’re too little, I can post,” Jackson said. “And if you’re my height, I can go right around you.”
As for his biggest areas of improvement, Jackson said he needs to become more agile.
Heading into the summer, he already has offers from practically the entire Pac-12 as well as a few east coast programs including UConn and Maryland.
Arizona has been one of the schools coming at him the hardest.
“I see them at all my games,” he said. “It means a lot. It also motivates me to keep pushing because just like that, it could all go away.”
Jackson indicated that he will take his time visiting programs – when PGU talked to him, his biggest besides focus was on an upcoming SAT exam – and that program fit is among the top factors in picking a school.
“I want to make an impact my freshman year,” Jackson said, “and in a positive way.”