Isaiah Jackson will be in the building when his name is called at the 2021 NBA Draft. According to Jordan Schultz, the former Kentucky Wildcat received an invitation to the Green Room at the Barclays Center for next Thursday’s event, which will return to its usual pre-COVID format.
Twenty prospects will be in attendance. Jackson was not among the initial 15 prospects invited, per Jonathan Givony, but did make the secondary cut based on NBA team voting. The initial 15 to receive an invitation were Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Kuminga, Scottie Barnes, Davion Mitchell, James Bouknight, Keon Johnson, Franz Wagner, Josh Giddey, Jalen Johnson, Corey Kispert, Moses Moody, and Kai Jones. Jackson was one of nine players under consideration for five additional invitations along with Ziaire Williams, Cameron Thomas, Sharife Cooper, Usman Garuba, Alperen Sengun, Trey Murphy, Jared Butler, and Chris Duarte.
Jackson is currently projected to be a mid- to late first round pick, with Givony’s latest mock putting him right on the cusp of the lottery at No. 15 (Washington Wizards). Knicks beat reporter Jonathan Marcri is reporting this morning that Jackson is in New York today for a workout along with Virginia wing Trey Murphy III and Florida guard Tre Mann. The Knicks have the No. 19 and No. 21 picks. Previously, Jackson has worked out for the Indiana Pacers (pick No. 13) and the Charlotte Hornets (pick No. 11).
In his new mock draft this morning, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo has Jackson going to New York at No. 21:
While Jackson is inarguably raw and not particularly skilled, his athletic tools have sparked first-round interest, the hope being that he’ll evolve into a viable rim-running, shot-blocking, end-to-end big. Jackson is a ways away from reaching that level—he’s extremely foul-prone and scores almost entirely within gameflow—and there’s been a bit of an ideological resurgence surrounding bigs with offensive skills, which makes his fit a bit more selective. New York is facing an extension decision on Mitchell Robinson next summer, and adding depth up front through the draft could be prudent, depending on what the Knicks decide to do with their two picks.
In one season at Kentucky, Jackson averaged 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds. In the final seven games, he averaged 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds and reached double-figure scoring in all but the last contest. He totaled 65 blocks, leading the SEC with 2.6 blocks per game, which ranked 15th nationally. He had eight blocks against No. 7/5 Kansas in the third game of the season, the most by a Wildcat in a single game since Willie Cauley-Stein’s nine vs. Boise State on Dec. 10, 2013, and the most ever by a UK player vs. an Associated Press top-10 opponent in program history.
The NBA Draft takes place next Thursday, July 29 at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch live on ESPN.