The elite power forward chats with Yahoo Sports' Krysten Peek on the growth of his game and how his summer AAU season has gone, heading into USA basketball U18 training camp.
- I'm Kristin Peak here with GG Jackson, 2023 forward. We're at USA basketball tryouts for U18 in Houston, Texas. GG, there's some older kids here, but you are holding your own. How have the first couple of days been for you?
It's very stressful. Sometimes, you can't really sleep at night because you're thinking, oh, what is he going to do? What is he going to do? When the list first came out, like, I kind of didn't want to come. I was a little scared because I'm a kid when it comes to seeing these top level guys. I look at them as celebrities, but I feel like I can showcase what I can do against those top level guys. And I guess that's why I'm ranked so high.
Yes. Who has been your toughest competition the first few sessions?
Definitely Khalil. Khalil, he dunks everything. And I didn't even know he could shoot. So yeah, he's definitely been the toughest so far.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, he said you were his toughest competition. So there's that.
I love that. I had asked him when we was on the baseline, I was like can you put me under your wing and can you guide me through this entire process? Because, like, you have a feeling about some guys that you know are for sure on the team, so I kind of wanted to just like stick by his side and learn as much as I could from him.
Yeah. Hey, so you're headed to North Carolina. They had, obviously, a great run in the tournament in Hubert Davis' first year. What was it about North Carolina that made you kind of commit early to them?
They wanted me so bad and I saw it on social media, in person when I took my visits there. And even with the coaching staff, we got to sit down in Coach Davis' home. I met his wife, his daughter and everything. A lovely family and it was like a family atmosphere. And me and Coach Davis, I feel like we have a pretty tight relationship. One time, I accidentally slipped up in an interview and called him Hubert. And I got scared a little bit. And definitely the great history that North Carolina has, I feel like you can't go wrong in a program like that.
So it's you and Simeon Wiltshire. Who else are you trying to recruit to get someone to join you guys?
We're trying to get Modest, Modest Buzzellus. He's a 6' 10" point guard, which is crazy. Well, he can stretch out, play two or three or whatever, but I've definitely been in constant contact with him.
And you were just named or ranked the number one player in the country. Did that surprise you at all?
Yeah, it definitely did. As soon as I landed here in Houston, I was getting tagged in a bunch of things. And I was like, oh, it's probably some highlights. And then I looked, like, I almost dropped my phone. I was like what? And, like I said, I'm still a kid to all this. Like, I never would have thought I would make it this far in basketball. And to see, like being that, number one. They try to say it's lonely at the top, but it's definitely not. You have the support of different guys like that. And it's just a great experience.
Hey. I mean, and being at number one, do you feel like there's any pressure added to you now going into your senior season?
Definitely. But my dad always told me to imagine pressure as playing in front of a big crowd, that's how I like stop getting nervous in games. So I think it's definitely some pressure there because guys are trying to take my head off every game. And I feel like I have a big target on my back, but it's nothing I can't handle I feel like if I just put in the work and stay humble. I feel like God can direct me in the right path.
Last question, what are you working on this summer heading into your senior year to add to your game?
Definitely a lot of ball-handling and becoming a more consistent shooter. I feel like that's when I can definitely separate myself from a lot of different people. If I can master those two things, I feel like I can be really good.
All right GG Jackson, thank you so much. For more information on GG Jackson and his senior year, keep it right here on rivals.com.