When Cuonzo Martin introduced Jaylen Brown, officially, to the California media on Wednesday, he stressed one thing above all else in recruiting: Relationship building.
“I think, first and foremost, in recruiting, it’s about relationships – building genuine relationships around the clock, and developing those over time,” Martin said.
When it comes to one of the top jump shooters in the 2016 class – Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco’s Vance Jackson -- the same holds true.
“One thing I like about [Martin], is that me and him share similar ideas about Vance, and that’s good for me, because when I send Vance off to college, I want somebody to have a similar idea that I have, so he can keep going at the same pace,” says Vance Jackson, Sr., the father of the 2016 four-star. “I like that we share similar ideas. He took a visit to St. John Bosco, and he sat down and talked to us, I think it was last week, or the week before last, and we share similar ideas, with regards to Vance. That was a big plus, because to have that extra father figure for him once he’s gone at college, it’s good.”
What kinds of ideas do Vance, Sr., and Martin share?
“Just development, and the kinds of things he needs to do to really be productive on the court, just things like that, which way he needs to go to develop better, things like that,” Jackson, Sr., said, after speaking with Martin and his son for a good half hour before Jackson, Jr.’s basketball awards banquet.
Martin and the Bears have been after Jackson since they arrived in Berkeley. When his AAU game at the Battle at the Beach last July was delayed two hours until past 9 p.m., Yanni Hufnagel stayed to make sure he watched, and what he saw was a deadly-accurate three-point shooter who’s big enough to play the four.
Of course, at that point, Martin and his staff hadn’t landed any recruit of consequence. Now, they’ve just signed three top-100 players, two of them top-five prospects in Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb.
“I saw that,” Jackson, Sr., said of Brown’s signing. “I thought it was a pretty good thing for Cal, and that shows that they’re going in the right direction, that they said they were trying to go: Collect talent and go and try and win.
“I love [Martin] as a person, and a coach. He’s a good dude. It really didn’t change my feelings for him, at all. It didn’t change the way I feel about Cal. It has nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with Vance, and his development. I think it does show that Cal’s trying to win. When he goes to college, he wants to try to win, too. That’s good that they’re going in the right direction.”
Of course, Jackson – who boasts offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Connecticut, UCLA, USC and Washington – can write his ticket wherever he wants to go, at this point, but the Bears are certainly going to remain in the discussion.
“Honestly, we really haven’t started to break things down, but Cal, from a relationship standpoint, and the school being high-academic, it’s definitely up there,” said Jackson, Sr. “It’s just a matter of, when we get ready to start breaking things down, where he fits, and style. Style is somewhat a big deal, but for me, Vance can play in a lot of different styles, so it’s really going to be about where he can fit in, and try to play as a freshman. That’s something we have to analyze as time goes.”
Jackson and his father also hope to visit Berkeley sometime sooner, rather than later, though it will have to be in between his spring and summer commitments, which started last weekend with the adidas Nations event.
“We’re trying to, but it’s just kind of busy right now, back and forth, out of state, so once we figure out the time, a good time to get up there,” Jackson, Sr., said. “We would love to.”