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Former Cat Isaiah Jackson headed to Indiana after draft-night trade

Florida Kentucky Basketball
Posted at 10:47 PM, Jul 29, 2021

BROOKLYN, NY. — Former Cat Isaiah Jackson is an Indiana Pacer.

Jackson was taken by the Washington Wizards with the 22nd pick in the draft. Moments later it was reported that he will be traded to the Pacers for Aaron Holiday and the 31st draft pick.

Jackson’s draft rights are a part of the proposed trade between the Lakers, Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers resulting eventually in Jackson joining the Pacers.

With Jackson’s selection in the opening round, UK has now had at least one player taken in the opening round in each of the last 12 drafts under Calipari. That’s the longest streak in the modern draft era (since 1966).

“I am so happy for Isaiah Jackson and his family,” Calipari said. “He is just scratching the surface with his talent and is another one of our guys who is going to make a lot of teams regret passing on. Isaiah had an unbelievable spirit with us, and I can’t wait to see him continue to grow at the next level.”

Jackson was the first Wildcat off the board. He is the ninth player in UK program history to be selected by Los Angeles, although his rights are linked to a trade proposal with the Wizards and Pacers.

“It's a surreal moment,” Jackson said Thursday at the Barclays Center. “Just growing up, just wanting, like having the dream of making it to the NBA, it's just crazy. So, this is surreal moment for me and I'm enjoying it."

“It lived up to everything, just having my name called, getting drafted. It's just, it's mind blowing. … It just feels like a dream in a way. Like, it's just crazy right now. I'm just trying to bottle all my emotions and it's just crazy, man.”

Jackson’s ability and athleticism were evident early in his freshman campaign and he transformed into an All-Southeastern Conference Freshman and Defensive performer by the end of the season.

The freshman forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in 25 games with 18 starts. Over the last seven outings, he logged 13.3 points and 6.9 boards per game and reached double-figure scoring in all but the last contest. Jackson recorded two double-doubles on the season, both of which came over the last seven games. He shot 63.3% from the floor during that span.

Jackson was an elite shot blocker from the start. He burst onto the national scene in his third career game when he blocked eight shots against No. 7/5 Kansas. It was the most rejections in a game for any Wildcat since Willie Cauley-Stein blocked nine shots against Boise State on Dec. 10, 2013, and it was the most ever by a UK player vs. an Associated Press top-10 opponent in program history.

The Pontiac, Michigan, native swatted 65 shots this past season to lead the nation's No. 3 shot-blocking team. He led the SEC with 2.6 rejections a game and ranked 15th nationally. Jackson led the Wildcats in blocks in 20 of 25 games and recorded three or more swats in nine outings. The 6-foot-10 forward also induced 19 steals on the season.

Jackson grabbed 12.7 rebounds per 40 minutes, among the best marks during the Calipari era, and recorded a team-high seven double-figure rebounding games. In the second half of a win over LSU, after sitting much of the opening stanza with foul trouble, he hauled in 13 rebounds after halftime. It was the most rebounds by a UK player since Nick Richards hauled in 16 boards vs. Arkansas on Feb. 26, 2019. According to STATS, Jackson became the first player with 15 or more rebounds in fewer than 20 minutes played against a major conference opponent since VMI's Eric Mann had 17 boards in 19 minutes against South Carolina on Dec. 28, 2000.