At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, hundreds of players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and underrated, and today’s edition will highlight Jackson Helms of Northern Guilford.
We’ve written about Helms countless times, including most recently at their open gym prior to the season, stating, “Although Hodge is visibly the most talented player in the gym, Jackson Helms truly dominated the practice session from start to finish. His toughness, nonstop motor, and full-throttle approach naturally leads to production in all facets of the game. Helms consistently plays as hard as anyone in the state, but also showcased excellent IQ and instincts on either end of the floor. He’s a definite tone-setter defensively and as a rebounder accompanied by a strong understanding of how to make an impact without necessarily needing to score. Due to his workhorse mentality and well-rounded athleticism, Helms regularly stands out when doing the dirty work or little things. His energy overwhelms opponents and leads to a ton of forced turnovers. He’s the first guy looking to dive on the floor for a loose ball or sacrifice his body for an extra possession. That being said, Helms also made a ton of quality passes and shot the ball at a very impressive percentage from beyond the arc. Roanoke is currently his only offer, but expect Helms to be a priority for all types of D3 programs throughout the season.”
Since then, Helms has only continued to further solidify his status as a college-level player as a focal point for the Nighthawks. Through 14 games, he’s posting nightly averages of 13.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 2.1 SPG while typically being the most active player on either team. Helms is a quality athlete with a high motor and the ability to make his presence felt without necessarily requiring the ball in his hands. He does a great job of getting downhill and attacking the basket, especially in transition, and finishing effectively through contact. Helms is a capable shooter and rugged defender who competes on the glass and forces turnovers at a consistent rate. He will be a useful piece at the next level, wherever he should ultimately end up.