John Beilein picked up his first commitment of the 2020 cycle on Tuesday night.
Zeb Jackson, a four-star guard from Maumee, Ohio, committed to Michigan over a final seven that included Ohio State, Michigan State, Butler, Purdue, Arizona State and Marquette via a video on his Twitter.
Jackson, who plays for junior guard Zavier Simpson’s father, Quincey, with Under Armour C2K Elite’s AAU program, has developed a close relationship with the Wolverine point guard.
“Zavier’s like my brother,” Jackson said over the phone last month, “so we talk a lot.”
Jackson never officially visited Michigan because he lives just 45 minutes away, making Ann Arbor an easy weekend jaunt. In addition to Simpson, he also mentioned Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers and David DeJulius as players with whom he’s close. Jackson camped with the Wolverines in June, and though he nearly announced a commitment to Butler in August, saw his profile rise from there. In September, after coming to watch him work out, Beilein extended Michigan’s first offer of the 2020 cycle to Jackson.
In addition to location and Simpson, there was another connection working in Michigan’s favor. Assistant coach DeAndre Haynes, who took a lead in Jackson’s recruitment, was on Toledo’s staff when the Rockets offered him in eighth grade.
“A close relationship with the head coach, a place where I’ll feel comfortable to play my game,” Jackson said when asked what he looked for in a school. “Life after basketball, like, having a coach who can teach me how to be more than a player, be a man. Go to a school where a degree goes a long way. And my final goal is to go to the NBA. And win, and win.”
Jackson, a scorer who can make plays off ball-screens, fits well in Beilein’s system. On a 2020 roster that will have lost Zavier Simpson, adding a guard was an important step as well.
As of now, the Wolverines have allotted 12 of 13 scholarships for the 2020-21 season, as with the 2019-20 season, and will likely plan for departures between now and then. Four-star Ethan Morton is currently their only other offer for the class of 2020.