basketball Edit

Seven-footer Jazz Gardner standing tall - with plenty of offers

Jazz Gardner
Jazz Gardner (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Jazz Gardner is the 70th-ranked player in the 2023 Rivals150. This makes the 7-footer the No. 7-ranked center in his class.

“I can provide spacing, and can provide a little bit of handle. I have some post moves; I am smart with the game,” Gardner said. “Next up for me, I am looking to get stronger as a person, I want to get my handle right and also work on my flexibility moving forward.”

Gardner’s name may be a familiar one: His father, Jelani, was a McDonald’s All-American in 1994 who later attended Cal.

“My dad has already been through it, so he leads me well. He knows all the obstacles and things to look for in the process,” Gardner said.

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2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30

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As you can imagine, the center at Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Los Altos High is a hot name with college coaches, especially those on the West Coast.

“I have offers from Pepperdine, Washington State, Southern Cal, Kansas, Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara. Once AAU ends, I am going to get to UCLA and Pepperdine in the first part of August,” Gardner said. “Each of these schools are telling me how much they like my game. I don’t force the action. ... I have a chance, if I keep working, to be a quality player.”

When asked if he grew up a fan of any particular school, Gardner said, “My dad was a fan of UCLA, but he chose Cal. I am not sure why. UCLA wanted him, but I guess he wanted to do his own thing. I pattern my game after my dad. I know we are different sizes, but I watch his game and look at his game.”

Gardner’s father was playing professionally in France when Jazz was born. Recently, Jazz was given the opportunity to play for the French U18 National team.

“It’s an honor to be chosen to play with the French National team because not many people are blessed to be able to play with their national team," he said. "It is just an honor as a player.”

RIVALS' REACTION 

Gardner has legit size, which is the first thing that sticks out when you see him. When he gets on the floor you see someone who is a good area rebounder and a player who can knock down a 3-pointer off the catch. As he continues to work on loosening his hips, there is a high ceiling for his outcome. Many times, as we have seen in the past, giving sons of high-level players time to come into their own is a smart move.