North Carolina signs GG Jackson at number 1


North Carolina signs GG Jackson at number 1

After spending the past six months criss-crossing the country to watch the country’s best players compete with their high school and grassroots teams, the 247Sports rankings for the Class of 2023 have been updated, and in a lot has changed during this time.

In fact, the change starts at the top where 6-foot-9 makes forward GG Jackson has overtaken Combo Guard DJ Wagner as the top-ranked prospective senior.

Jackson has a battle ahead if he’s to hold on to that No. 1 spot, and the updated 2023 has seen some big changes along the way.


(Photo: Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina)

Recently accepted for North Carolina GG Jackson is the newly crowned No. 1 in his class, but this isn’t a situation where he runs away and hides from the rest of his class.

Jackson, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Columbia (SC) Ridge View, has size, athleticism and versatility that work in his favor. He can run on the ground, he plays over the edge, he ricochets, he has the ability to play facing the basket and he can be an effective shot blocker on defense. However, if he wants to retain the top spot, he needs to take all of those tools and be more consistently dominant as he finds the right mix between playing on the block and playing on the edge


As the only player in the class to ever finish first before being passed by Jackson this cycle, DJ Wagner will certainly be motivated. There were some real ups and downs during his junior season at Camden (NJ) High, and if an update had been completed in February or March, Wagner might even have been a few spots lower than No. 2. However, during the match in Nike’s EYBL , Wagner really turned things around again and if he continues his dominant scoring tally he may be able to reclaim the top spot from Jackson. On the recruiting front, it was long assumed he’d end up in Kentucky, but now this Kenny Payne is head coach in Louisville and Wagner’s grandfather Milt has been added to the staff, the Cardinals look like the favorite.

Check in at #3, Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Small Forward Justin Edwards also has a chance for the top spot. Previously ranked 12th overall, the 6ft 7 wing’s rise is notable and there’s a lot to like with his game. In addition to his size, he has plenty of perimeter ability, length, and emerging athleticism. He has a group of finalists that includes Auburn, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Villanova and the G League, and the Volunteers could emerge as favorites.

Next up is a legitimate shot at the top spot Xavier Booker. Booker, a 6-foot-11 power forward from Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral, was the biggest storyline of the grassroots season. Buzz started building late in the high school season, and after a series of eye-popping spring outings where he displayed an elite combination of size and skill and plenty of room for improvement, Booker has enjoyed a meteoric rise from 87 spots to No. 4 total. Michigan State worked really hard to build a strong base early on, but the rest of the Big Ten and others like Duke and Kansas are starting to struggle. If he can repeat for the rest of the summer what he’s done for the past three months, Booker is a viable contender for No. 1.


(Mookie Cook; Photo: Landon Bost (USA TODAY Sports)

While the top 4 of Jackson, Wagner, Edwards and Booker seem to have put some distance away from the pack, it wouldn’t be out of the question for another member of the top 10 to make a run, so we’ll have to discuss places five through ten.

Dedicated to play in home state of Oregon, versatile, athletic winger Mookie Cook lands in 5th place. As a junior at Compass Prep in Arizona, he showed brilliant flashes at both ends of the floor. His time on the ground was limited in the spring while playing the role of LeBron James in a drama called Shooting Stars, due to stream on Peacock in 2023.

Headed to Duke, combo forward Mackenzie Mgbako is part of a really strong group from New Jersey in the Class of 2023 whose game is highlighted by his ability to post or stretch the ground. At No. 7, Matas Buzelis is a tall and experienced forward who has the ability to make plays for himself and others from dribbling.

At No. 8, Kwame Evans Jr. is as natural as any player in the class. He pushes 6-foot-10, he glides across the floor, can play on either end and makes things look easy. Because of this, he had ended up 2nd overall, but his performance as a junior was not up to that level. He’s shown signs of ramping things up lately and if he continues on that path there’s no reason why he can’t immediately return to the group of contenders for the top spot.

One of three five stars on the way to Duke (guard Tyrese Proctor in 11th place is the third), sporty Power Forward Sean Stewart lands at No. 9 while being the nation’s top-ranked point guard Isaiah Collier rounds out the top ten and joins Stewart and Booker as a newly minted five-pointed star.


(Photo: Getty)

When it comes to NBA bloodlines, nobody can top it Bronnie James. Because his father is the one and only LeBron James, Bronny – a shooting guard from Chatsworth, California Sierra Canyon – has been scrutinized like any other player in the country. James, now at No. 55, is really starting to pick up steam as a shot-maker, defending and passing.

Along with James, Wagner was even more closely watched as his father, Dajuan Wagner, not only held first place in the class for some time, but also played in the NBA and was a high school superstar. You’re not alone when it comes to prospects with fathers who have played in the NBA.

One of the biggest climbers in the rankings, rising from 103rd to 25th, is the small forward Andrei Stojakovic, the son of cute all-star Peja Stojakovic. Andrej seems to have inherited quite a bit of his father’s shooting skills. Rank #30, guard en route to Kentucky Reed SheppardHis father Jeff spent time with the Atlanta Hawks and is a legend in Lexington.

No. 61 Jace PoseyNo. 69 Carey boothNo. 71 Sebastian Mack and the aforementioned five-star stewart all have fathers who have played in the NBA. In addition to these guys, point guard jizzle james, who moved up 75 spots to 70th overall, is the son of the multiple NFL Pro Bowler Edger James.

If we take it a step further, #26 Cody Williams and #112 Cameron Christie both have older brothers (Mark and Max, respectively) who are likely to be drafted in June.

That’s a lot of connections to the highest level in a class.


(Dennis Evans; Photo: Brun Report Online)

With Booker and Stojakovic we’ve already covered some of this update’s biggest climbers in the updated leaderboard. Perhaps the tallest player in the class, the 7ft 1 center also makes a big step up Dennis Evans. Evans is one of the youngest members of the Class of 2023 (he won’t turn 16 until later this month) and based on the gigantic strides he’s made on offense, his dominance as a shot blocker and his relative youth, he’s earned one massive climb to 22nd from 108th. Due to the time between updates, this one has several other big climbers and is one of the 10 players overall to have reached 50 or more spots in the leaderboard.

When it comes to debuts, nobody had a more impressive one than big man Ugonna Kingsley. A major time-shot blocker, it debuts just outside five-star status at #23 overall. power forward Zayden High (No. 46) and Tafar Gapare (No. 46) and Small Forward Caden Cooper (No. 50) also made an impressive debut and of the newcomers, 17 have entered the updated rankings as four-star prospects.

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