"I Finally Made It." – Charles Jackson

Charles Jackson is a 6-8 power forward from Buena Vista, GA. He couldn't wait to get to Champaign to play basketball with his new teammates. Read here for his upcoming plans for the season.

This giant big-man couldn't wait to put on that uniform. "Man, it feels great! I finally made it. This is a dream come true for me, just to be here wearing this," Jackson said. During the entire time when I would speak with Jackson at home he couldn't wait. His reason was because he just likes the guys; they were great and they were good at basketball.

This year Charles will have some competition ahead of him in Marcus Arnold, Shaun Pruitt, Warren Carter and James Augustine. But according to Jackson he welcomes the challenge. "I know it's going to be hard. Those guys are all good, but I'm going to come out here and work my butt off and show the coaches what I can do."

Head Coach Bruce Weber talked about his team being in great shape, starting with All-American point guard Dee Brown whose time increased. This seemed somewhat of a surprise to Weber since he was coming off an injury. However, there was one kid that had a hard time with conditioning and that was Jackson. "Yeah, it was very hard for me; I can't lie. I just wasn't really used to something like that. My body is trying to adjust from football. Really, this time last year that's what I was doing."

Most people feel because of the people ahead of him and being a big man he may be a red-shirt candidate, but those words never came from Coach Weber's mouth. "No, I'm not thinking about that right now. The coaches haven't said anything to me about it. There's still a lot of time. We have the scrimmage and a lot of practice time so we'll wait and see," Jackson said.

Jackson has a great smile. When I came up to interview him the guy started to rub his hands together because he couldn't wait. During the pre-game introductions on Friday they put the camera on him and all you could see was that genuine smile. This kid is truly happy to be an Illini.

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