Centre College Commit Jackson Wise got Plenty of Basketball Advice from his Grandmother


Jackson Wise with his family after signing to attend Centre College.

At a young age Jackson Wise learned that if he was going to play point guard he had to want the ball in his hands at the end of games to help control the outcome.

His grandmother, Dr. Donna Wise, hammered that point and a lot of other basketball knowledge into his mind. She became Campbellsville University’s coach in 1975 and in 2003 became one of only 12 female coaches nationally to reach 600 career wins — and the first female coach in Kentucky to do it. She retired with over 660 wins and a 71 percent career winning percentage. She’s in the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame after coaching 23 NAIA All-Americans and winning three national coach of the year honors.

“My grandma coached me early and always stressed to me the most of anyone how a good point guard had to control the end of the game,” Wise said. “Multiple Sundays we would go shoot together to get back to the basics and get me back to where I needed to be. She also coached me on hustle, grit and motivation.”

That paid off for him during his prep career at Taylor County as he went 73-40 in four years. He became one of only 19 players in state history with over 600 career assists and also scored his 1,000th career point last season off an assist from his younger brother.

He’ll play his college basketball at Centre College for coach Greg Mason.

“Centre was always on my list and on a visit I watched practice and coach Mason had every single player shake my hand and introduce himself to me. That meant a lot to me,” said Wise, who finished his prep career with 1,074 points and ninth on the state’s all-time assists list with 753. “They have a young team set up for success in the future years. I know coach Mason will get the best out of me and push me to be the best I can be.”

Academics also played a big role in his decision to pick Centre College. He’s the class valedictorian and evaluated colleges he visited on how happy he would be there if he was not playing basketball.

“I just thought Centre would also be perfect if I was sidelined and could not play basketball for some reason,” Wise, who plans to major in business/finance at Centre, said.

He’s that rare high school athlete who never missed a game during his varsity career. He said he was “lucky and blessed” to have not been injured or sidelined during COVID.

“It was a blessing to be able to do this. I may be tweaked an ankle but never it never crossed my mind to sit out a game,” Wise said. “I am more of a high IQ point guard who looks for others to score first. I think about ways to set up my teammates. It’s not that I can’t score, but my best trait is reading the floor and thinking of the team like a true point guard should.”

Wise played football two years and was an all-district cornerback his sophomore season. He knows that helped him add strength and toughness but then decided to stick with basketball. He played baseball until he was about 10 years old but decided this year to try baseball again.

“We have a really good chance to win (the Fifth) Region and do well at state,” Wise said. “I am a pinch runner. It’s the best job in the world . I sit in the dugout. I don’t take infield. I just get a BlowPop and sunflower seeds and wait for a chance to get in the game and execute.”

His only at-bat came in a junior varsity game and reminded him that he had not swung a bat in a game since he was 10 years old.

“I swung as hard as I could. I tipped one pitch and struck out. I knew then I had no chance to hit the ball in a varsity game,” Wise said.

He has more luck hitting the ball in another sport — pickleball. He started playing when he attended Governor’s Scholars at Murray State University last summer.

“It is gaining popularity among kids my age as well as people the age of my parents and grandparents,” Wise said.

He actually met his girlfriend, Boyle County senior Annabelle Tarter, playing pickleball at Murray. She’s also going to attend Centre and run track.

“It has grown with us and it will be nice having a familiar face at Centre College, too,” he said.

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