When the dust settled after fans were frustrated over missing out on the last two official visits, the Gophers were able to regroup and schedule a visit for four-star senior forward Tray Jackson this weekend.
Jackson, a 6-foot-8 reclassified 2019 standout at Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.), was one of the most heavily recruited targets for Minnesota coach Richard Pitino and his staff in July.
The connection to Jackson comes from first-year U assistant Kyle Lindsted’s background as a former Sunrise Christian coach and director before he landed at Wichita State. Lindsted and Pitino followed Jackson’s Meanstreets AAU team throughout the summer during Nike EYBL play and other events around the country.
That consistent presence put the Gophers in a good position for a visit this fall. Jackson, a consensus top-100 prospect, has already made official trips to Oklahoma on June 18 and Seton Hall on Aug. 29. He’s also being pursued by Missouri and DePaul.
There’s been no indication yet that a commitment from Jackson could come after this weekend’s U visit, but just getting him on campus is a good sign.
Jackson’s high school teammate Austin Crowley, a four-star guard from Sunrise, committed to Vanderbilt before his scheduled visit to Minnesota last month. A week ago, Lakeland (Fla.) three-star forward Luke Anderson committed to Iowa State before he was supposed to visit the Twin Cities this week. Previously, the next Gophers official visit was supposed to be Breck forward David Roddy next week. Roddy is visiting Colorado State this weekend.
Watching Jackson play this summer, the first thing that jumps out is his top-level athleticism and quick bounce near the rim, punishing defenders on dunks and attacking the offensive glass. There's a bit of finesse to his game being able to step out and stretch the defense with the jumper. But with a smaller build at 6-foot-8 and 200 pounds, he still plays tougher than many opposing frontcourt players much bigger. Once he adds weight in college, Jackson easily could compete at the Big Ten level inside and fight for a power forward spot once the Gophers lose star Jordan Murphy to graduation next season.
During Nike EYBL regular season play, Jackson averaged 13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and shot 38 percent from three-point range for Meanstreets in 16 games.