LA PORTE, Ind. — Big Ten rivals Michigan and Michigan State have officially added the top basketball commits in both of their classes.
La Lumiere (Ind.) School teammates Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jordan Poole signed their national letters of intent Wednesday. Jackson, a 5-star forward, signed with Michigan State while Poole, a 4-star guard, signed with Michigan.
To Jackson, who committed on his 17th birthday in September, it’s a different feeling than the verbal decision.
“It’s just more official, I think,” he told Land of 10. “It says I’m here. There’s no turning back. I’ve been through the whole process, and I think I made the right decision.”
Although Jackson expressed his excitement, he admitted to some nerves about the future. The ceremony started with a somber message from La Lumiere director of athletics Sean Murphy about Tuesday’s presidential election and respect for each other’s opinions while a large number of students listened.
That group of students included top Michigan State targets Brian Bowen and Tyger Campbell, who would pose for pictures with their teammates afterward.
Then came the actual reason they had gathered, and Jackson and Poole kept it light by performing a brief “mannequin challenge,” a social media sensation sweeping across the United States.
After that, they signed their papers, which would be faxed to their respective schools, making the commitments official. Then the trash talking commenced.
“Before I’m a Spartan, you’ve got to win at high school,” Jackson said. “After that, then I’ll be a Spartan and I’ll beat Jordan.”
Jackson glanced over at Poole, who laughed. The two now can focus entirely on their senior season, a luxury many other seniors won’t have.
“It’s nice to be able to concentrate on one thing,” Jackson said, “not focus on recruiting as much, because that can sometimes be a distraction.”