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Posted On: 06/18/18 6:00 AM
Rising Clinton County Senior Jackson Harlan put on a show at Western Kentucky’s team camp just two weekends ago and he left Bowling Green with a full scholarship offer from Coach Rick Stansbury. Late Friday night Harlan accepted the offer and committed to play 4 seasons on the Hill at WKU. Harlan is highly skilled and a good shooter who is much more athletic than you expect. Jackson is 6’5″ with a really good jumpshot and the ability to put the ball on the floor and score at the rim. Harlan was in his bag at WKU, scoring 40 points when I watched him against University Heights and having scored 47 in the morning session against Pendleton County. By the end of camp, the WKU staff had seen enough of Harlan and Harlan had gotten to know the staff well enough that he was thrilled to earn his first offer.
Many in Kentucky have never seen Jackson play. I hadn’t seen him since he was a shaggy headed 7th grader who, thanks to a growth spurt, struggled to run and dribble at the same time. Five years have seen a big change for Harlan. Now he desribes his game as unique, “My game is definitely unique. My biggest strength is shooting. I shoot the mid-range jumper very well, but can also shoot the three. The biggest thing for me moving forward is my strength. I need to get stronger.” Jackson has high hopes for his final year at Clinton County after a really good Junior season, “This past season went well. We won more games than was expected of us. We won the 4th Region All-A title and went on to win the first round of the All-A state tournament. I was satisfied in some aspects of my game, but definitely not all of them. There is always room to improve.” With his college decision behind him, Jackson is focused on his final season as a Bulldog, “My goals this year are to win the 4th Region tournament as well as the 4th Region All A tournament and make deep runs in both State Tournaments.”
The most impressive thing about Jackson Harlan may actually be off the court. Harlan maintains above a 4.0 GPA thanks to honors and AP classes, scored a 26 on his ACT and is spending his July as part of the Governor’s Scholars Program. I asked Jackson how he juggles his strong academics and manages to be a Division 1 caliber basketball player, “I have been extremely blessed with a strong, supportive family to help me keep my priorities in check. But the biggest thing to me is managing my time. I get done what I need to get done when it needs to be done.”. Those attributes are going to serve Harlan for a lifetime but especially in his 4 year career as a NCAA Student Athlete.
Less than a week after leaving Western Kentucky with his first scholarship offer, Jackson decided to pull the trigger and commit to the Hilltoppers. When asked why he decided to play his college basketball in Bowling Green, Harlan told me “I really love the atmosphere there. Coach Stansbury is a great coach and will push me to be the best player I can be. He really cares about the players he recruits so for me to be chosen is a great honor.” As the first member of WKU’s 2019 recruiting class, Harlan will have a chance to help recruit other players to join him on the Hill in 2019. Jackson will also be a candidate for 2019’s Kentucky Mr Basketball, First Team All-State and several other accolades but for now he’s just relieved to have his college choice out of the way and looking forward to being a part of Western Kentucky’s basketball program for four years.