South Atlanta High’s Nick Jacobs, who is one of the state’s top basketball prospects and has UGA among his leaders, can’t escape the comparisons with NBA lottery pick Derrick Favors.
It doesn’t have anything to do with playing styles or body types, as the two are very different in those areas.
The root of the comparisons tip off with timing, as Jacobs was the heir apparent to Favors as South Atlanta’s marquee player last season. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound Jacobs was a dominating presence in the paint, averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds while leading the Hornets to the state playoffs. Also, Jacobs is yet another big-time recruit out of South Atlanta’s storied program, which has produced numerous major-college prospects over the years.
Jacobs is friends with and has a lot of respect for Favors, as the two teamed together to lead South Atlanta to the state championship two years ago. However, Jacobs would rather be known for his own basketball abilities rather than “the next Derrick Favors.”
That’s one of the reasons why Jacobs never really explored the option of playing college ball at Georgia Tech, following in the footsteps of Favors. Tech never offered a scholarship. But when the Jackets sent out early feelers to gauge his interest, it was “thanks, but no thanks” from Jacobs.
“Georgia Tech is a good school with good players and a good coach,” Jacobs said. “It was never an option because … it’s just not the best fit for me.”
When asked if his lack of interest in Georgia Tech had to do with escaping the never-ending comparisons to Favors, Jacobs laughed and said, “I think you might have hit the nail on the head.”
South Atlanta coach Michael Reddick says he completely understands his player’s stance. “To follow behind somebody who was a consensus national high school player of the year … there’s already so many comparisons by people. Nick would like to go some place and make his own path without that extra eye being placed on him, comparing him to Derrick Favors.”
Well, while we are on the topic, how to Jacobs and Favors compare? “There’s a difference,” Reddick said. “Derrick is probably a little more agile and more athletic. But Nick is a bigger and stronger kid at the same age. It’s two different styles of play. Then again, Nick plays a little more at center, while Derrick was a power forward for us in high school.”
Jacobs announced his five leaders on Thursday night: UGA, Clemson, Alabama, Virginia Tech and Florida State. He also has offers from Auburn, Miami and Cincinnati, among others.
There’s an UGA connection with Jacobs — his cousin David Jacobs played defensive end for the Bulldogs. His football career was cut short in 2001 by a stroke.
“[David] tells me Georgia is a good situation,” Jacobs said. “With Trey Thompkins and some other players leaving after next season, it will be a good opportunity to go in there and get some good minutes.”
Jacobs plans to make 3-4 official visits at the beginning of the school year and sign in November.
What do colleges like about Jacobs? “He’s big, strong and brings a load,” Reddick said. “He’s very skilled in the low post. He’s a tenacious rebounder.”