As a four-star recruit on a nationally renowned high school prep squad - one that featured daytime soap star Brian Bowen and future DePaul star Tyger Campbell - Jacob Epperson played a man in the middle. He was dealt offers from three Texas schools (Longhorns, Aggies, Horned Frogs), Press Virginia, the Runnin’ Rebels, and the illiterate weirdos from Wichita.
He went with Creighton.
At 6’11 and 205lbs he’ll make a valiant attempt to fill the gigantic shoes leftover by Justin Patton. It’s hard not to fathom why someone like Epperson would go to Creighton after seeing Patton’s transformation. As far as their first days on campus are concerned, Patton and Epperson are nearly identical in their height and weight.
This leaves the quandary of whether McDermott will decide to follow the same path as the one he laid out for Patton with Epperson, utilizing a redshirt year and allowing the skinny man to add some bulk. If you peer upon the roster sheet, however, the Jays have a glaring hole in the middle that needs some attention, perhaps forcing McDermott’s hand to play the Aussie freshman if he feels Martin Krampelj and Toby Hegner are better suited for a ‘4’ slot.
Regardless, the Bluejays have a bonafide center waiting in the wings. His style of play seems to resemble that of Patton’s, flying to the rim with a reckless abandon and throwing it down in transition. His mid-range game could certainly use some tweaking, and though he admitted, on Mike’l Severe’s The Bottom Line, that he wants to "...do a bit of everything — protect the rim, rebound, hit (shots) inside and outside,” it’ll be seen if he can hit long range shots with the consistency that Patton put forth.
He’s well spoken and a great interview which Bluejay fans will come to adore. His babyface will give him a marketable appeal to college basketball. His Aussie roots give him an international flair that’ll give the Fox Sports talking heads something to talk about ad nauseam. Should he splash upon the scene like his 5-spot predecessor, there will be ear ringing cheers from Creighton’s marketing department.
From Melbourne, Jacob noted in the aformentioned interview with The Bottom Line, that Aussie Rules Football reigns supreme as far as sporting entertainment is concerned. Basketball, he noted, is growing in his hometown.
So what’s with his hometown, anyway?
Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria, is the second largest city in Australia, and consists of a population just shy of 5 million. The native Aborigines had settled the area 30-40,000 years prior to the foreign settlers arriving, likely due to its access to water and beautiful coastlines. The sunsets, I imagine, have to be mind shattering.
Melbourne became the defacto capitol of the Australian federation when it was founded in 1901. It sits on the coast of south central Australia, 260 miles north of Tasmania, and has an oceanic climate. The winters are very mild, averaging highs in the upper 50’s from June-August while their summers feature temperatures in the 80’s from December-February.
The city hosted the 1956 Olympic games. It hosts the Super Bowl equivalent of Aussie Rules Football every season. Trevor Gretzky, the son of Wayne Gretzky, is slated to play for the Melbourne Aces - their professional baseball team.
Steve Irwin was a Melbourne native. The Hemsworth brothers are Melbourne natives.
Dante Exum, the Jazz’s rising superstar forward, is a Melbourne native, along with Andrew Bogut, flat earth conspiracy theorist Kyrie Irving, and the former first overall pick Ben Simmons.
Here’s a fun travel video you can enjoy that explores Melbourne. It resembles your run of the mill metropolis with working mass transportation!
Overall, Epperson may very well enjoy a nice career in Omaha as long as he manages to pack on some weight to anchor the middle. His athleticism and ability to run the floor will be a boon for the Jays for years to come, offering highlight reel dunks and a sharp enough mind to make extra passes and get his teammates going.