Jaren Jackson Jr. is about to become the king or prince of Michigan State basketball. He'd rather be the prince.
The 6-11 incoming freshman from Indianapolis is the No. 16 player in the class of 2017 (and No. 3 among power forwards), according to ESPN. Jackson, who compares his game to Anthony Davis, is spending the week in Brooklyn as he preps for Friday's Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center.
Back in East Lansing, Miles Bridges, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, has been wrestling with the decision to return to the Spartans for his sophomore season or jump to the NBA.
Jackson gave his two cents to Bridges earlier this week.
"I just wanted him to know that if he stays, we'll have a really good shot at winning this thing and it's just going to be a great year." Jackson, 17, told ThePostGame on Wednesday
Bridges, 19, led Michigan State with 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds, and his performance was a bright spot in a mostly underwhelming year. Michigan State opened the season No. 12 in the country, but the team lost its first two games, against Arizona and Kentucky, and never rebounded. Kansas eliminated the Spartans with a 90-70 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
A Jackson-Bridges tandem would likely make Michigan State the favorite to win the Big Ten and compete for a national championship. The Spartans won the Big Ten's last NCAA title in 2000.
"It'd be incredible," Jackson says of playing with Bridges, who was among the Spartans recruiting him to East Lansing in the past year. "I want to win a national championship. He's a great guy, great teammate, great person. His athleticism and his skillset just adds so much to our team. Obviously, selfishly I want him to play with me."
On Wednesday, Bridges reportedly cancelled all meetings with NBA agents and plans on making an announcement Thursday night. Jackson can give himself a pat on the back.
Michigan State’s Miles Bridges will make announcement tonight at 6 p.m. All signs pointing to him returning to college.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 13, 2017
Even if Bridges doesn't come back, Jackson, the son of former NBA guard Jaren Jackson Sr., is optimistic about the team, which will still have rising senior Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr.
"I think Tum Tum's the best leader in the country, and he was a junior last year, which says something about him." Jackson says.
Jackson will play for the East Team in Friday night's Jordan Brand Classic. One of his teammates, Brian Bowen, is also Jackson's high school teammate at the La Lumiere School in La Porte. Bowen, a 6-7 small forward, is undecided with Michigan State still on his list. If Bridges does jump to the NBA, it would not be surprising to see Bowen commit to Michigan State and fill that role at the 3. For Jackson, that is a win-win.