The Tar Heels are in the middle of one of the most chaotic times in program history with the team’s recent inconsistencies and navigating the new landscape of college athletics. Since the conclusion of the team’s 2022-23 season where they finished with a 20-13 record and missed the NCAA Tournament, four players, all of which play on the wing, have entered the transfer portal and rumors have it there are more possibly on the way.
There have also been concerns about the status of the 2024 class, which is the one that many are looking to when it comes to revitalizing the program. The player that many have been pointing to is 5✮ combo guard Ian Jackson. Jackson committed to the Tar Heels back on January 16th over Kentucky, Arkansas and others.
The rumors of a possible flip to his hometown school of St. John’s started rolling in on Tuesday shortly after new head coach Rick Pitino’s introductory press conference. Originally, there wasn’t much denial, but yesterday, you started to see some experts saying that this was not likely to happen after.
On Friday, Jackson put all of those rumors to rest, at least for now in an article written by 247Sports’ Dushawn London. “The rumors are not true. Coach Pitino is at St. John’s and is a Hall of Fame coach but my plan is to stay at North Carolina. I’m 100% committed.”
This is far from a guarantee that Jackson will actually end up signing in Chapel Hill when it’s all said and done, but it shows that it will take a lot of work from another school to be able to pry him away. Keeping him a part of the class needs to be the top priority of this staff on the recruiting trail for the time being, especially since it looks like he will remain in the 2024 class.
Jackson addressed the question of reclassification with London, something that has been a hot topic around both him and fellow 5✮ Elliott Cadeau. “As of right now reclassifying is not the plan," Jackson said. "The plan is to have one more year at Cardinal Hayes. In my senior year my main thing is just seeing how much I can grow before college.”
While Jackson didn’t completely shut out the idea of reclassifying, it seems unlikely that he will be joining the team next season. While St. John’s isn’t a threat to his commitment right now, the Tar Heels need to continue to make him feel like their top priority so he can remain the headliner of a crucial 2024 recruiting class.
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