McCracken standout Sivills nearer to college decision


Jackson Sivills (00) has 17 Division I college offers, to date.

For many teenagers going into their senior year, that last summer of high school involves having as much fun as possible.

For McCracken County forward Jackson Sivills, it was about getting better at basketball.

This week is an important week, too, with it marking the start of the NCAA Division I live recruiting period.

The opportunity to play in college, which is drawing ever nearer, is something that, while it's been on his radar for a while, is really starting to sink in, he said.

"I've always dreamed of it, but to be at this level, you've got to put in the work," Sivills said Monday after practice in the Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena. "I really wasn't thinking about much of anything, but basketball, because I knew I've put in the work to back everything up. It was great. I had a really good summer (on the AAU circuit). I played (with and against) kids who were just as good or better than me. I improved a lot and I'm just looking forward to getting back on the hardwood and playing again."

As part of the live period, several D-I coaches have either already visited or will be in Paducah over the next several days.

Monday afternoon, Wofford coach Jay McAuley flew in for a chat with Sivills. Then, Monday evening, Florida Gulf Coast University skipper - and Fulton City alum - Michael Fly was around to see the highly-touted senior.

Later this week, Murray State coach Matt McMahon and first-year Vanderbilt skipper Jerry Stackhouse are expected to stop by to take a look.

Sivills isn't the first member of his family to be recruited out of high school. He more than likely won't be the last, either.

His older brother Will Sivills is a sophomore forward at Transylvania University. His father, former Racer Scott Sivills is the girls' basketball coach at McCracken, where his sister Caroline plays as a freshman.

"It feels crazy," he said. "It feels like yesterday I was just playing with Will, when he was a senior. But, I'm just trying to soak it all in, because I know it's going to fly by just like that. It's crazy, but I'm trying to make it the best I can."

After a disappointing end to the 2018-19 season for Sivills, who fouled out early in the second half of a 56-44 loss to Mayfield in the First Region championship game, he said he learned a lot playing around the country over the summer.

"Just the way I respond to adversity," said Sivills, asked what the biggest takeaway was. "This summer, when shots weren't falling or whatever, I found other ways to really, really improve my game. It was a great opportunity for me to grow on and off the court."

McCracken boys' coach Burlin Brower said he's noticed a lot of improvement in Sivills from the end of last season to this week.

"He's a lot better off the dribble," Brower said. "He's a lot quicker off the dribble. That's the one thing I noticed when I watched him play this summer. Even when he played with us, but he went and played a high-level prospect camp that the NCAA put on. That's the one thing that stood out to me. So, when people try to take away his space, now, he'll be a lot better."

As for what factors will play into his decision - which Sivills said he hopes to make this fall before basketball season starts - there are many, not the least of which are those made in the classroom, as a safety net for the day basketball ends.

"Education is definitely a big factor," Sivills said. "The ball's going to stop bouncing eventually. But, winning is also one of my No. 1 priorities if not my No. 1 priority. That'll play a huge factor in my decision. It's going to be hard. There are a lot of great options."

Handling the high-level attention is another way Brower said he's seen Sivills' maturity.

"It's way beyond his years," Brower said. "It's way beyond most anybody's years. I don't know parents that could handle it as well as he does. No matter who calls, who texts and shows interest, he comes in the gym the next day and he works as hard as if nobody is giving him a call. That's the biggest thing about this kid. He's always striving and striving to get better every day."

And about Sivills' family? He said they've been great during the recruiting process.

"They've been 100 percent supportive, all the way," he said. "They give me as much advice as I need. My dad played, so he's a great help. But, at the end of the day, they know it's my decision and they're going to support me through whatever."

Jackson Sivills' college offers to date: Ball State University, Belmont University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Furman University, Jacksonville State University, Kent State University, Liberty University, Lipscomb University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Rice University, Saint Louis University, Samford University, University of Toledo, University of Tennessee-Martin, Western Michigan University, Wofford College.

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