Hoopster Commits to BYU

BYU just received a verbal commitment from a widely recruited 6'3" combo-guard. The young prep star is going to live his dream and play for the Cougars. He's looking forward to bringing his 21 point per game average down to Provo.

What, a basketball commitment during the height of the football recruiting season? BYU just received one of their first commits of 2005 this past week and he's raring to go while fulfilling his dream of playing for and attending BYU out of high school.

Jackson Emery is a 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard from nearby Lone Peak High School just north of Provo.

"Oh, I'm very excited to have made my decision already and to have the opportunity to play for BYU," Emery said. "I love BYU and can't wait to play for them and show them what I can do and hopefully I can help them as a player."

Emery has received a lot of interest from such schools as the University of Utah, Air Force, Princeton and a slew of junior colleges. Since it's very early in the recruiting process for most programs only BYU and Air Force had firm offers for Emery, but he was anticipating that Utah would offer eventually.

"They've been after me pretty hard and I've had a lot of contact with them," he said. "I like Utah, but BYU has always been the place where I wanted to play and attend school."

His mother Patty Emery was thrilled about his decision. "He's so excited about it and I'm very glad that he's chosen to play for and attend school at BYU," she said. "I just couldn't be happier for him as a mother."

Emery turns 18 the June after he graduates, so he'll have a full season to play and learn the system before leaving on a church mission.

"Hopefully I can come in and play right away and help the team," Emery said. "I know they're having a bit of a down year this year, but I know the team will be fine and hopefully I can help them improve."

Emery has had a lot of contact with BYU coaches over the years with Andy Toolson living just blocks from where he lives. Assistant coach John Wardenburg is also a close family friend, as is Toolson. This was a main factor in his final decision to sign with and play for BYU.

"I'm very comfortable with Coach Wardenburg and with Coach Toolson having talked with them so much over the years," Emery said. "They're guys I can trust and I have tons of respect for both of them."

Emery is not as familiar with head coach Steve Cleveland, but said, "I haven't met with Coach Cleveland much, but I know him to be a great man and a man with integrity. He knows how to coach basketball and he's everything I want in a head coach. I'm just excited and honored to have the opportunity to play for him."

Unlike most graduating seniors out of high school, Emery knows exactly what he wants to study in college. "I want to be an anesthesiologist," he said. "BYU has a great pre-med program and that's what I'm going to study. Education is big for me and that's another reason why I chose to commit to BYU."

Emery is also familiar with current players such as Chris Miles and fellow Lone Peaker Sam Burgess. "Although Sam (Burgess) is a lot older than me I know him pretty well and know him to be a great guy," Emery said. "I also know Chris (Miles) fairly well and I'm very excited to play with them along with all the other players. BYU has a young team right now and they're going to get a lot better with the guys they have in the program."

Emery is currently averaging just over 21 points per game this season with Lone Peak and considers himself a player who can beat you from the outside or by taking the ball to the hoop. "I feel I have a good outside shot," he said. "I can hit the three consistently, but I also like taking it to the hoop. I have a 34-inch vertical leap, so I feel I can play around the basket as well."

"BYU is a great school with a great basketball program," he continued. "When they offered it was an easy decision to commit to them since that's where I've always wanted to play and attend school. It was an easy decision for me to make and I'm very comfortable with it."


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