Isaiah Jackson, an Indiana Pacers rookie, hadn't played since hyperextending his left knee in his second NBA regular-season game Oct. 27. His return – albeit with the G League's Mad Ants – was a strong one.
The 19-year-old, 6-foot-10 center/forward out of Kentucky made 11 of 13 shots for 24 points, with eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 21 minutes, as the Mad Ants defeated the Cleveland Charge 125-113 on Wednesday in Indianapolis.
“No. 1, he's a super nice kid and I have to keep reminding myself how young he is, just because he's so gifted athletically. He's easy to work with. He's coachable, and a majority of this stuff is new to him,” Mad Ants coach Tom Hankins said.
“I helped with the (Pacers') Summer League and was around him a lot. His level of improvement over five games at Summer League was the quickest I've ever seen with anyone. I think that's what he'll do playing with us and the Pacers. The point is he's got tremendous upside, he's got great talent.”
The Mad Ants (3-1) improved to 2-0 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where attendance has averaged 260, including 285 on Wednesday.
“I think today was a good day to showcase what I've been working on with me being out and stuff,” Jackson said. “It's been fun, just getting back (in action) and to work on my game. Not that I'm not working on my game with the Pacers, it's just they hold you to a standard. Through the years, it's going to get better. But down here, there's a little more leeway.”
Justin Anderson had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Mad Ants. Justin James led Cleveland (2-4) with 30 points and seven rebounds.