‘I’m here to win:’ Why 2024 Top 50 power forward Jackson McAndrew chose Greg McDermott, Creighton
WAYZATA, Minn. (WOWT) - Creighton men’s basketball reeled in a big haul for National Signing Day, headlined by consensus Top 50 power forward Jackson McAndrew.
The 6-foot-9 four-star prospect signed with the Bluejays on Wednesday, becoming the highest rated recruit in program history, according to 247 Sports.
“Jackson is one of the best shooters in the country,” Greg McDermott said after signing McAndrew, Top 100 shooting guard Larry Johnson and three-star combo guard Ty Davis. The group is the highest-ranked recruiting class in the Big East and No. 14 nationally. “His ability to stretch the floor with the three-point shot will allow for a seamless transition into our offense. In addition to his ability to shoot, he has made vast improvement in every part of his game in the last 18 months.”
The accolades are new for the Wayzata, Minn. native. Last winter, despite his size and talent, McAndrew was barely in the Top 175 for his class.
“That’s definitely a little frustrating,” McAndrew told 6 News. “Knowing that the guys that I’ve been playing against—and been playing as good as or better than—have all these stars and rankings. But I don’t really let that get to my head a lot. I know that doesn’t mean anything when you’re on the court. But I have used that to work harder and get better.”
That work culminated in a head-turning performance in the Minnesota state championship game in March. McAndrew dropped a game-high 25 points and hit the game-winning three in overtime to bring home a state title for Wayzata High School. His father, Steve, says Jackson has a habit of rising to the occasion.
“I noticed when he was younger that, in big moments in sporting events, the pressure didn’t get to Jackson,” he said. “And I think it’s just kind of carried on. He just doesn’t let things get to him too much.”
McAndrew choosing Creighton marked a full-circle moment for his dad. The elder McAndrew played for the University of North Dakota from 1989-94. McDermott was on staff as an assistant coach at the time—then a 25-year-old at the dawn of his coaching career.
“I never really talked to him about Jackson,” Steve clarified. “So when they found him on the recruiting trail and started recruiting them, it was fun because it actually brought Mac and I back kind of close together. We joke now that he actually gets to coach a McAndrew that knows how to play basketball.”
But the connection between father and coach was not what brought Jackson to Omaha.
“It wasn’t really a big factor,” he said. “He made his decision, I made mine. It definitely helped with the trust level with coach Mac.”
Creighton was among the first teams to offer McAndrew. McDermott and assistant coach Ryan Miller were in regular contact with him. They sent footage of Doug McDermott, Kyle Korver, Mike Miller and Desmond Bane to drive home their vision for his development as a lengthy shooter. They believed in him before most.
So when his rankings and recruitment picked up this summer, McAndrew stayed loyal to the Bluejays.
“It’s definitely cool that they’ve been believing in me for so long,” he said. “I just felt like a priority. It just felt right.”
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