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UK Freshman Isaiah Jackson on Karl Malone Award Watch List

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball freshman forward Isaiah Jackson continued the trend of freshman Wildcats earning selection to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame preseason watch lists for a positional award. Jackson is among 20 players on the watch list for the 2021 Karl Malone Award, presented to the nation’s best power forward.

Isaiah Jackson (UK Athletics Photo)

Jackson is one of three players from the Southeastern Conference on the list. He is joined by LSU’s Trendon Watford and Tennessee’s John Fulkerson. He is one just two freshmen on the preseason list.

Named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Karl Malone, this year’s award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in April. The award is in its seventh year of existence and UK has yet to have a winner named the best power forward. 

Jackson is a considered a five-star prospect by Rivals, where he was ranked as the No. 28 overall player in the final rankings. He averaged 19.7 points, 13.0 rebounds, 7.7 blocks, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game for Waterford Mott his senior season. Jackson was named to the Michigan All-State Division I Team (Associated Press) and was a finalist for the Mr. Michigan Basketball award. He is a three-time All-State selection and a four-time defensive player of the year in his conference. The Pontiac, Michigan, native led his high school to a pair of district and league championship.

During the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in 2019, Jackson averaged 11.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He also earned selection to the Jordan Brand Classic game.

Jackson is considered one of the best defenders in the class and has been one of the most talked about players in preseason practices by the Kentucky coaching staff and his teammates.

By mid-February, the watch list will be trimmed to 10 players. Five finalists will be revealed in late February with the winner being announced during the annual ESPN College Basketball Awards show on April 9. Fan voting will be a part of all three rounds of voting before a winner is announced.

Jackson is the third UK freshman to make a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame preseason positional watch list. Earlier this week, guard Terrence Clarke was named to the Hall of Fame’s Jerry West Award watch list (nation’s top shooting guard) and guard Brandon Boston Jr. landed on the Julius Erving watch list (nation’s top small forward).

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