By Rayjaun Stelly
Photos courtesy Trey Edwards

With Covid-19 and the WIAA allowing Highline High School to play seven games last season, stand-out sophomore Amare Jackson put the state of Washington on notice with his pace, scoring, and defending.

Standing 6’5″ and 175 pounds, Jackson is a top prospect in the talented loaded class of 2023, and with his junior year approaching he’ll look to build off his impressive play from the previous season.

“Amare has come a long way from where he used to be,” said father Gene Jackson. “His development is much better, he’s mature about his business, and he’s now molded himself into a division one player.”

His ability to score from three, midrange, and around the rim is amazing, but Jackson’s underrated characteristic trait is that he’s unselfish, always looking to set up teammates to score in transition or get the hockey assist. Whether it’s offensively or defensively, he rebounds at a high level for a guard, and can also defend any position on the floor which results in blocks and steals.

“From freshman year to now I feel like I’ve made a huge change, I went from being a third option player coming off the bench and averaging very low numbers,” said Jackson, “to becoming the number one option becoming more explosive dunking in games with way more confidence and aggressiveness.”

Not only has Jackson developed – so has his team as a whole. As a freshman their record was 7-13, and within the seven games they were allowed to play, Highline went 4-3, ultimately putting themselves in a position to win more games than the previous season. Chemistry is growing for the Pirates, but Amare and head coach Djuan Piper’s relationship is the key to their future success.

“Coach Piper is great; we’ve had a super-strong relationship since day one, when I was a freshman it was his first year at Highline and from there we have been working on putting Highline on the map,” said Jackson. “I like having Coach Piper as a coach because he’s young and finished his high school career not too long ago, so I feel like he knows more about today’s form of basketball and how it’s played which relates a lot more with players.”

Amare’s averages of 27.8 points and 11 rebounds per game in this past season resulted in colleges putting him on their radar. Heading into his junior year he received interest from Point Loma, Western Washington, Nebraska-Omaha, Fresno State, UC San Diego, New Mexico, and Seattle Pacific. Receiving recognition from schools with the chance to land a scholarship is the goal, but at this moment, Jackson is focused on the schedule this upcoming season.

“My goals going into the junior season is to make sure I’m prepared for a longer season considering we only played seven games last season,” said Jackson. “This upcoming year we will have a tougher schedule, so I’m just making sure I can get my teammates more involved and help them out more this year.”

Below is a video compilation that shows Jackson (#12) in action:

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