Elite rising senior G.G. Jackson has decommitted from North Carolina, he announced via social media on Thursday.

Jackson becomes the first prospect to decommit from North Carolina in nearly 20 years; J.R. Smith committed to the Tar Heels in 2003, but opted to go straight to the NBA out of high school. No player in the modern recruiting era has decommitted from the Tar Heels and gone elsewhere for college.

“First I would like to thank God for watching over me and giving me the gift and talent to play basketball,” Jackson wrote on his social media accounts. “To all my coaches from middle school on up and AAU coaches thank you for believing in me and letting me play for your programs. Thank you to coach Hubert Davis and the UNC Basketball staff for recruiting me and giving me a chance to play for your university. My family has stuck by my side since I was born and have been the biggest supporters in my life by guiding me in the right direction.

“I have decided to decommit from UNC to explore other options that can help me grow from a teenage boy to an adult to put me in the best position to reach my dream goal which is the NBA.”

Over the last several months, reclassification rumors have circled around Jackson’s recruitment, although he’s consistently denied that he plans to enroll in college next fall.

“We were looking at it at first,” Jackson told ESPN in April. “But weighing over my options and looking at the different people that reclassed up, seeing how it affected them. I feel like, physically I’m not there yet to play at that college level, so I wanted to stay in my class and just prepare the best that I can.”

However, speculation has ramped up in recent weeks that Jackson ultimately plans to move into the 2022 class and play in college next year. The most likely potential landing spot, sources told ESPN, is South Carolina, which was in the driver’s seat for his commitment until the Gamecocks parted ways with head coach Frank Martin in the spring. New head coach Lamont Paris attempted to land Jackson after taking over, but Jackson committed to North Carolina in late April.

Had Jackson remained committed to North Carolina, one potential complicating factor in any reclassification decision would have been the Tar Heels signing Northwestern transfer Pete Nance from the portal. A 6-foot-10 power forward, Nance plays the same position as Jackson and was signed as a Brady Manek replacement.

A 6-foot-9 forward from Ridge View High School in Columbia, South Carolina, Jackson is ranked No. 6 in the ESPN 100 for 2023. He averaged 12.9 points and 9.8 rebounds on the Nike EYBL circuit last spring and summer, and he is putting up 12.1 points and 9.4 rebounds through 14 games on the circuit this season. During his junior high school season, he averaged 22.1 points and 10.9 rebounds, earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors in South Carolina. Jackson was also named MVP of the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp last month after averaging 14.0 points and 9.2 rebounds.

North Carolina now has one commitment in the 2023 class, No. 10-ranked prospect Simeon Wilcher.

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