The VCU men’s basketball team made a significant splash in the transfer portal over the weekend, securing 6’5 guard Zeb Jackson as the first acquisition of the offseason.
Jackson announced his decision to join VCU in a graphic posted to social media on April 2.
— Zeb Jackson (@iamzebjackson1) April 2, 2022
A rising junior, Jackson was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN and was ranked as the nation’s No. 96 prospect in the high school class of 2020 by 247Sports’ overall composite rating.
Jackson signed with Michigan in the fall of 2019 after fielding offers from numerous Power 5 schools, including Michigan State, Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Purdue.
In two seasons with the Wolverines, Jackson appeared in 20 games, averaging 1.5 points per game. Last season, Jackson appeared in four games before entering the transfer portal in January. During his Michigan career, Jackson played 10 or more minutes just three times and had a career-high of eight points, which Jackson scored on Dec. 18, 2021, against Southern Utah. That game was his final appearance for the Wolverines.
Jackson enters the VCU program with two years of eligibility left – three if he elects to use his extra year of eligibility granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He will join a strong guard unit with fellow rising junior Ace Baldwin and rising sophomore Jayden Nunn projected to handle starting point guard and shooting guard duties respectively.
However, there is a wealth of available minutes for Jackson to potentially earn. KeShawn Curry is graduating and has elected to not use his extra year of eligibility, while guard Marcus Tsohonis has re-entered the transfer portal after one season with VCU.
Since Jackson has never transferred before, he will be immediately eligible to play this fall for the Rams. With the potential for big minutes, Jackson will look to make an immediate impact for a VCU team projected to be among the strongest in the Atlantic 10.
How does VCU’s roster look now?
The largest remaining question mark for VCU’s roster is whether senior forward and All-Conference First Team honoree Vince Williams will use the extra “COVID year” of eligibility. Thus far, there has been no definitive word from Williams one way or the other on that front. Curry has confirmed that he will be moving on from VCU and will forego his extra year.
Even if Williams elects to return, VCU’s scholarship math remains unchanged. Players using their bonus year do not count against the 13-scholarship limit.
VCU has also seen three departures to the transfer portal so far this offseason, the most significant being the departure of rising junior forward Mikeal Brown-Jones. Tsohonis (2021 Washington transfer) and forward Jimmy Nichols Jr. (2021 Providence transfer) have both re-entered the transfer portal after one season with the Rams.
As of April 5, VCU has two scholarships remaining, assuming none of the players that entered the transfer portal return. Here is the roster breakdown for the upcoming 2022 season (for the sake of this exercise, let’s imagine Williams does not return for his fifth season):
Fats Billups (Guard)
Christian Fermin (Forward)
#4 Jalen DeLoach (Forward)
#23 Jayden Nunn (Guard)
#24 Nick Kern (Guard)
#0 Jamir Watkins (Forward)*
#1 Ace Baldwin (Guard)
#21 Jarren McAllister (Guard, Redshirt)**
#33 Josh Banks (Guard)
Zeb Jackson (Guard)
#15 Arnold Henderson VI (Guard)***
#20 Hason Ward (Forward)
*Jamir Watkins did not play in the 2021-22 season due to injury. Assuming he is granted a medical redshirt, Watkins has three more years of traditional eligibility
**Listed as a redshirt sophomore last season, Jarren McAllister has not appeared in a game since the spring of 2020, having missed two seasons due to injuries. He is presumed to have three more years of traditional eligibility.
***Arnold Henderson VI is a preferred walk-on and does not count against the 13-scholarship limit.