Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker got off to a very busy start to the contact period last week. Wednesday saw him visit Deshawn Sims at Detroit Pershing followed by a trip to an open gym for the Michigan Hurricanes (the AAU club for Tory Jackson, Tom Herzog, Darquavis Tucker, and Alex Legion). The next day, he travelled to Flint Powers to visit Herzog. Then he finished up with a Friday trip to Saginaw Buena Vista to visit Jackson.
Just last week Jackson again listed Michigan as his leader, but expressed concern over a rumor he heard stating reagrding how long Amaker would remain in Ann Arbor. (For that story, click here). Before traveling to Columbus with the Hurricanes last weekend for the All-Ohio Nike Cup, (where he was named tournament MVP), he wanted to get a few things straight with the Wolverine headman in a face to face meeting. "It went REAL well," Jackson said Amaker's visit. "It took place in my principal's office with my principal, my mom, and my dad all there with us. It lasted about two-and-a-half good hours. He said that he was going to be at Michigan for a long time and not to worry about it. He said that he has five or six more years left on his contract."
Jackson expected Amaker to put his mind at ease about his future at Michigan, but he was caught a little off guard by other portions of the personable coach's presentation. "He came at me in a way I didn't expect," Jackson said. "He just flat out told me that he needed me. He said that he has some good guards coming in, but that he didn't have a guard like me. My mom and them were surprised that he came at me like that. He was very clear about it and she didn't expect it. She had a notebook full of questions, and some of them she didn't even expect him to answer. But as the conversation went on, we were looking at the notebook and he was answering all of the questions before she even got to them! One of them had to do with letting players live off campus. He said that freshmen at Michigan are allowed to drive cars and live away from the dorms, but that he doesn't like his freshmen to do that. He said he wants his kids to stay in the dorm rooms for two years before they move off campus OR get a car. My mom liked that. She was going to ask that exact question. That was just one of the things. She was blown away. I was blown away."
Another topic of conversation was the possibility of four of the top players from the in-state class of 2006 all becoming Wolverines. In particular, Amaker spoke of the supposed link between Sims' decision and Jackson's. "He told me that would be good because that is who he is trying to get," Jackson said regarding the possibility of he and Sims heading to Ann Arbor. "He said that if he gets us four players in the class of 2006…me, Deshawn, K'len (Morris), and Tom (Herzog)…that we would be dominant. But, he said that I needed to start that. He said that he knows that I'm not a follower…that I'm a leader. He said he had heard that I was waiting on those guys to make their decisions…that if Deshawn decided to go, I would. He said that he'd bet me it was the other way around…that nine times out of ten…if I said I would go, then they would. I looked at him and I said that is kind of true. I had just talked to Tom about it the day before Coach Amaker's visit. It seems like we have all been saying the same thing."
As well as things went, Jackson wasn't quite ready to pull the trigger. With coaches from Illinois and Florida scheduled to visit his school next week, and campus visits to the remaining universites on his list planned for the month of May, the 5-foot-eleven-inch dynamo wanted to wait a little while longer. "We were very real with each other," Jackson said of he and Amaker. "I was blown away. We had a very good conversation. It was like we were friends. He told me he would like for me to make my decision soon, but that he wasn't putting any pressure on me. He actually kind of joked about it. He said, 'I know all of those other coaches are coming up here, but don't let me hear about you committing to anybody but me!' He had a straight face when he said it, and then he busted out laughing. It was pretty funny. We all laughed about that. We had lots of fun."
Jackson pointed to late summer (i.e. August/September) as a likely timeframe
for his decision.