Top JC Point Guard on BYU Horizon?

A decision by Fresno State to rescind a basketball scholarship offer to one of the top junior college point guards in the west may spell good news for <b>Steve Cleveland</b> and the BYU Cougars.

A sophomore-to-be this season, Tyrone Jackson became a casualty of Fresno State's NCAA-imposed penalty of reduced scholarships for past infractions. The school decided to focus its efforts on four-year recruits rather than two-year JC transfers.

Jackson, meanwhile, is steadfastly focused on leading his Fresco City College team back to the state championship game. They placed second last season.

After a very impressive freshman year, Jackson verbally committed to Fresno State before their current NCAA troubles exploded. The Fresno State decision put BYU seriously back in the running for one of the best point guards it has a shot at in recent decades.

At 6'-2 and 190 pounds, Jackson is the ideal size for a point guard. Throughout his playing career at Fresno's Clovis West High School, he played shooting guard. Halfway through the 2002-03 campaign at Fresno City College, Coach Walberg switched him to point, where he quickly impressed.

One of his main strengths is his outstanding court sense that comes partly from his great peripheral vision, combined with the ability to quickly process what his eyes absorb. Another of his strengths is that he excels at penetrating the opponents defense, getting quickly to a developing point of weakness.

Affable and easy to talk to, Jackson exudes great confidence in his abilities and his team without the arrogant overconfidence exhibited by other top basketball athletes. He said he fully expects his FCC Rams to win their conference and return to the state championship game. It should be another good team, but he added it's too early to judge whether they will be as good as last year's 38-2 squad.

Jackson says he will not commit until after the season ends. Many junior college coaches hope their star players defer their commitments so it will bring a lot more attention to their program, giving less talented teammates the chance to be seen by more college coaches.

Jackson confirmed he had arranged to take his official recruiting visit to BYU after the season.

Cleveland's indirect and strong ties to FCC, where he was the former head coach prior to assuming the BYU job, bode well for the Cougars in their recruiting efforts for Jackson.

Interestingly, Cleveland was the second varsity basketball coach ever, and the first junior varsity coach, at Clovis West High School.

Cleveland was also the most successful coach at Fresno City College until this last year under Coach Vance Walberg. Walberg also happens to be the coach Cleveland passed the Clovis West High School reins to. Because of Cleveland great success as a coach in Fresno, he is widely respected there.

Coach Cleveland's nephew, Tyson Parker, was a teammate of Jackson last year on that record-setting team. Jackson said that Tyson was an outstanding player who left the team to "serve his mission." It was clear Jackson had great admiration and respect for his former teammate's skills and his life decision.

Jackson said he is interested in playing in Utah and the top three basketball programs – Utah, BYU and Utah State – are all pursuing the talented sophomore.

BYU's chances of landing are as strong as anybody. If he signs with the Cougars, he could be a crowning jewel of what could be perhaps BYU's best basketball recruiting year ever.

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