A few days ago, Michigan basketball hosted what will surely rank as one of the most important visit weekends during Tommy Amaker's tenure as coach of the Wolverines. In-state prospects Tom Herzog, Tory Jackson, and Deshawn Sims all made their way to Ann Arbor Friday…and while none committed, the time they had was extremely memorable.
When Tory Jackson hit campus early Friday morning, he arrived with a few objectives: get to know the players and coaches a little better, get a feel for the academics, and have a little fun. When he left Sunday morning, he felt that he had met all of those goals and then some.
"I didn't want to go home," Jackson said during a brief conversation. "I just had so much fun. All of the players took me right in. The guys are just like big kids, always joking around and everything. It was so much fun."
Jackson's mother accompanied him on the trip and her time was just as unforgettable. Amaker had everyone from the athletic director to the head of admissions come out to show just how much the Wolverines wanted the visitors to become the newest members of the family. The gestures definitely were not lost on Mrs. Jackson. "He did wonderful," she said speaking of Michigan's headman. "I applaud the people that came out and greeted us so well. We got a chance to talk about a lot. Even the Herzog's…I got a chance to talk to them the last night. We just stood in the hall and talked for LONG time even though we knew we would see each other the next morning at breakfast. We just had a nice time. All of the people were just so warm and beautiful."
As nice as it was to meet and greet many of the university's most important people, Mrs. Jackson was even more taken aback by the way she and her son were made to feel as if they were already a part of things. "It just made me feel at home," she said. "I felt totally at home and relaxed. My son speaks so positively of all of the players. He fit right in. It was like he knew them all even though he didn't know anything personal about them. He said, 'mom they just took me right in.' It really made me feel good because it let me know he feels relaxed like he is at home with his brothers and sisters."
Also to her delight was the academic presentation. All three recruits went to class Friday, something which Jackson's mother was thrilled to see. "I got a chance to visit some of the classrooms and that was exciting to me," she said. "Tory got a chance to go to an actual sports management class and that was exciting to him. He liked the fact that the classrooms weren't full. I talked with him a lot about how good that would be for him."
The initial day-and-a-half of the visit was filled with so much valuable information and fun that the Jackson's did not think that time could be topped, but that is exactly what happened at the dinner at Amaker's home Saturday evening. The menu that had everything from seafood to ribs for everyone to enjoy, but it was the opportunity to get to know everyone on a more personal level that made the gathering so valuable. "I told the coaches that I loved the genuineness that I saw in them," Mrs. Jackson said of her remarks at the dinner. "I can tell when people are genuine about things. They were really open. He (Amaker) did a number on me. I just felt right at home. And his wife Stephanie just had such a beautiful spirit. As a matter of fact, we got a chance to meet all of the wives (of the coaches) and that was very special. I was just so impressed by the genuineness of everyone. They were just real people. I know I've said this a lot, but I felt right at home. My son did too. Michigan is on top!"
With the visit an obvious success, the Wolverines are in even better standing than they were prior. That said, Kansas and Illinois are still being considered, and a visit to Florida is in the offing. Jackson indicated that the trip to Gainesville could take place anywhere from later in this month to mid June. He would then like to come to a decision sometime this summer. Helping him every step of the way will be his mom. "I will be going with him," Mrs. Jackson said of the trip to Florida. "I think it is important that at least one of the parents is there. I ask a lot of questions regardless of how tough or off the wall they might seem. I kind of look at the feel of things and how he relates to the players and staff. All I can say is, at Michigan, it was just like he was back at Buena Vista!"
GoBlueWolverine will have more from Jackson himself very soon!