How does it feel to be a Blue Devil?
Frank Jackson: Great, thank you very much. It’s really a dream come true to play for a university with such prestige and everything they have accomplished and the success they have had. I’m glad and really happy to be a part of the family.
What makes it a dream come true?
Growing up as a kid, you see Duke and you see Coach K and you see the championships they’ve won and how they’ve won them and how they just play as a team. They’ve produced so many guys into the NBA and professionally which was exciting to know that the sky is the limit there.
How far back do you remember having watched or followed Duke?
You know I remember when Kyrie was there, the Plumlees were there, ever since I could remember I’ve been watching them.
What for you were the things about Duke and the program that made you want to commit?
I think just sitting down with Coach and building a relationship with him and getting to know him better, seeing the passion he has for his players and his program-he’s just all about winning and I feel the same way. When I was on campus there you just kinda get that gut feeling and you know this is where you want and need to be, and you knew that Coach K would give you what you needed to prepare you for the next level.
What kind of things did you and Coach K discuss over time that led to that close relationship being built?
You know, we just talked about basketball, we talked about where he’s from and where I’m from, players he’s coached. It’s really interesting to see that. He talked about the basketball team and things he was going to do to help me to be successful and things he would need from me. When you are around him that much, you just get more and more comfortable and I’m just really glad that I’m going to be playing for him.
What has he conveyed in terms of expectations for you?
Really just work hard and play to the best of my abilities. To be a leader, and don’t be afraid of the moment. But, really, just be a leader on and off the court.
Let’s go back to when you were headed to Duke for your recent official visit, what was the mindset going in?
You know I was definitely thinking about all the other schools as well. I felt like if I went there and if it felt right, then I knew I was going to go ahead [and commit]. I was glad I was able to get a feel for the campus and spend some time with the guys and see the relationship there that they have with each other and with Coach and how they live. After seeing everything, it all made sense to me. They are just good, quality guys there that really care about each other and they have the same goals of winning a national championship. You could see that last year with all the guys, they were just really tight and close and they played together and they knew their roles and they were able to win everything.
How much time did you have with the coaching staff?
Oh yeah they were with us for most of the days, walking us around and showing us a lot of different things. We ate every meal together, it really meant a lot.
How were your feelings changing during the course of the visit?
You just gotta look at Duke and you make assumptions but then when you are there and you are with the coaches and you put yourself in their shoes, it makes a difference because I really feel like they are good guys and they really care about me and they are going to help me get to the next level.
What were the main points of emphasis as you met with the coaches during the visit?
They just told me that if I come here I’m going to be successful. They always bring in good players that play with other good players and good talent. Things like that.
What were your feelings and thought process like as you moved towards the conclusion of the visit weekend?
I was sitting down, and it was me and Coach K. We were just talking and it just felt right, I had that gut feeling in my stomach and he asked me what I wanted to do and I told him that I wanted to “come here and play for you and become a part of the Duke family”. He was real happy and he stood up and gave me a hug and they brought my parents in and we told them and then me and my parents we hugged. It was a really emotional experience and one I’ll never forget.
How did the plans unfold after you left campus having committed?
I think we just talked about how I was going to announce it, the way I was going to handle it and I was going to do everything the right way.
Then you got to have your chance to announce your decision, what went into deciding to announcing the way that you did?
I love my school and I love being with my teammates. Every one that’s been around me that has helped me so much, so I just wanted to be around my friends and family. It was a good day.
With your commitment Duke is ranked with you and Jayson Tatum right towards the top in terms of its recruiting class already in 2016. What are your thoughts towards the rest of that process?
I’m excited to see what happens. I’m pretty sure we’re going to get some other key guys and we’ll have a really solid squad next year. I know most of the guys they are looking at, we text back and forth from time to time, it’d be cool if they joined us.
Have you had any thoughts or conversations about a potential jersey number yet?
Nah, not yet.
As we wrap up, what’s your message for all the future Duke fans who will be watching you next year?
I’m excited to be a part of the Duke family, the support they show their players. The university, the whole thing is just amazing and I’m really excited to play there next year for one of the best coaches of all time. I’m going to work really hard my whole time there, I’m just really excited to get there.