2014 Intro: Justin Jackson

Members of the Michigan basketball staff made their way down to the Lone Star State to observe Spring, TX SF, Justin Jackson. The talented youngster pairs a sweet stroke with a growing midrange game and is already widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2014 class.

Sam Webb:  First things first.  Talk about how the past year went for you on the basketball floor.

Justin Jackson:  “This past season for high school ball, our team had a lot more talent than it has had in the past years but it couldn’t seem to get it all together as a team.  So being home schooled, we played during normal season and basically work to go to national, which is basically all the home school teams.  They go to that at the end of the year.  It is just a big tournament that is the best home schooled teams.  The way the brackets were split up, there were two gold ball champions, basically two divisions.  We won one of those and the two teams that won the gold ball, they would meet up in what they call the showdown and we ended up losing by one on a buzzer beater.  Last season didn’t go as well as we wanted to but it went alright.  We went to AAU and the summer was pretty busy.  We had a lot of tournaments and I ended up making the US-16 team, so that was a 2-1/2 week deal.  Then I went to Lebron (James) camp.  Last summer was pretty busy.”

Sam Webb:  What was that Lebron camp experience like for you?  

Justin Jackson:  “It was great playing with all the older guys, all the best players in the country.  You really have to bring your A game to be able to hang with them.  I think it taught me that everything I do, I have to work hard to overcome maybe guys being older or being better, just work hard every time.”

Sam Webb:  Talk about your game a bit.  Give me a scouting report?

Justin Jackson:  “I’m best probably best on the offensive side, just scoring the ball.  My weakness is that I need to get stronger and I can always get better on defense.  I’m still trying to change that.  Probably just get stronger and quickness would be my weaknesses, but things that I do well is just scoring, probably being a good teammate. My best scoring asset is probably shooting.  I do a lot of floaters, pull ups.  I still have to work on moves with the ball.  As far as scoring, probably shooting is the best.  I’m pretty good with my back to the basket if I have a smaller defender on me.  I still need to work on moves like that, probably low post game, shooting and just once I get to the middle, floaters or pull ups are probably my best.”

Sam Webb:  What is your height and weight?

Justin Jackson:  “I’m 6-7 and about 175 to 180.”

Sam Webb:  When you watch the college game or you watch the pro game, are there any players wither college or the pros that we could kind of compare you to?

Justin Jackson:  “College, I can’t really say anybody that I can compare myself too.  NBA, I’d probably compare myself mostly to Kevin Durant.  Obviously, he’s taller, but he’s sort of that slim but still can score the ball really well.”

Sam Webb:  I know it is early in recruiting for you but have you already picked up scholarship offers and if so, which schools have offered you?

Justin Jackson:  “Ohio State, Washington, Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M.  They have all offered.”

Sam Webb:  Your mom told me that Michigan has certainly been showing you interest lately.  Tell me about that.  When did the Wolverines first start showing interest in you?

Justin Jackson:  “It was actually after the AAU season.  I was getting ready for the school season to start up and I think I got a call from my high school coach that Michigan was going to come down and watch practice one day.  So they came down and once they came down, we called them since they can’t call us and we called them, so we started talking.  Coach Beilein came down this past Monday to actually watch another practice.”

Sam Webb:  When you talked to them what kind of the feedback did you get?

Justin Jackson:  “They didn’t talk about a scholarship offer, but they just said they were really interested and they’re looking forward to recruiting me and seeing me play in the future and stuff like that.”

Sam Webb:  Did you know much about Michigan before they started showing interest or is it brand new?

Justin Jackson:  “I didn’t really know anything.  I was watching their games on TV but other than that I didn’t really know much about Michigan.”

Sam Webb:  Do you anticipate any time during the season or beyond taking any visits to any of these schools?

Justin Jackson:  “We’ve been thinking of times.  It’s been really busy.  Actually, our season is about to start in about three weeks or something like that.  We’ve been trying to find times that we can, but we haven’t found any yet.  If we can’t do any before the season we probably won’t do any for a while.”

Sam Webb:  Do you think you’ll visit Michigan?

Justin Jackson:  “Yes, when we are able to find time to get up there. Just right now it is the whole time aspect.”

Sam Webb:  When it’s all said and done, what are going to be the most significant factors in that choice?

Justin Jackson:  “Probably academics would be one, tradition would be another one and obviously a good basketball program.  I have to feel at home whenever I’m with the coach, the coaching staff, just to where it feels like…I have to be ready to leave for four years to be comfortable with that program.  Probably just coaching staff, tradition, good program and academics, stuff like that.”

Sam Webb:  Have you given any thought to a timeline for when you’d like for your recruitment to come to a conclusion?  

Justin Jackson:  “It probably won’t be until after my junior year, after my AAU season of my junior year, probably sometime near my senior year in high school.”

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