One look at Tadric Jackson and you can get a fairly clear sense for the type of player he is. At 6-2, 195 pounds, he's a bulldog with power and aggression who utilizes his physical superiority to downsize foes.
His football background helps explain why. Jackson began his career as a two-sport prospect, but he gave up the gridiron — having suffered a few nagging injuries in the process — prior to his junior season. Since then, he has demonstrated hardwood improvement and parlayed his success into multiple high-major offers.
He first emerged in Georgia and grew his reputation within the state and slowly beyond Peach borders. He competed for the Georgia Stars on the 17-under circuit as an underclassman, succeeding due to his advanced musculature for his age.
Jackson's game didn't resonate fully, however, because he tended to blend more than stand out. He arrived at the NBPA Top 100 Camp this past June — his second year attending the prestigious event — and proved that he has improved his jump shot. That always had been a concern, and his play there suggested that he'd made real strides.
He told Scout.com colleague Brian Snow following the camp that Georgia Tech, Alabama, Ole Miss, Maryland, Tennessee, South Carolina, La Salle, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and Florida State all were involved, but even then the Yellow Jackets appeared to have the edge.
"Coach Gregory has been real good," said Jackson in June. "He is telling me that I am someone who can come in right away and play. He has been by to see me practice, and I have been on their campus a lot. We have a good relationship."
That relationship bore fruit, as the Ramblin' Wreck won out for the commitment in August, toppling co-finalists Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss.
Power, and the attitude to go along with it. Jackson is a tough-nosed competitor in the Stars tradition, utilizing his muscle and meanness to make plays. The southpaw is undersized for the wing but can simply push aside taller, skinnier wings.
He's also a tough-minded defender who over time could develop into one of the ACC's finest on that end of the floor. With quick feet, ample strength and a desire to compete, Jackson has all the tools for plus-status as a defender.
Meanwhile, he's also a seasoned teammate and understands that, despite not being a point guard, the offense requires balance. He seeks his own opportunities but also recognizes proper court spacing and seems to find convenient spots to score or hit an open man. Physically and mentally, then, he's ahead of the game.
As mentioned, Jackson is slightly small for the wing and not a point guard. He'll be fine for college because of his strength and quickness, but down the road that's an issue he'll have to address.
Meanwhile, he still must prove he can knock in shots consistently. He recently has looked better from deep and if that holds true going forward, he'll prove to be under-ranked. Historically, however, shooting has stood as a primary need of improvement.
In the worst case, Jackson will a tough, starting-caliber player who excels on defense and facilitates smart offense. He isn't the most creative slasher but will initiate offense with drives and alert passes, and this summer he hinted that perhaps he'll become a solid shooter as well.
Moreover, the Yellow Jackets have needed to rebuild their program within the state, and Jackson ranks as one of Georgia's finest. A four-year, tough guy can contribute a lot, and it's also possible that his coattails could extend to future Georgia Stars products.