Jet-lagged. That is the term that best describes Saginaw Buena Vista's Tory Jackson at this point in time. After having traveled to the University of Florida the first weekend in June he headed straight for San Diego to compete in the weeklong USA basketball Youth Development Festival. The tournament not only pitted some of the top prep prospects in the country against each other, but against their international counterparts as well. Jackson's USA Blue team (led by O.J. Mayo) eventually lost in the gold medal game to the USA White team (led by Greg Oden) 107-85. For his part, Jackson averaged 8.5 points, 3.5 steals, and 3.5 assists. His best effort came in the Blue team's initial outing versus New Zealand when he notched 14 points, six assists, and five steals. Jackson went into the tournament with plans of continuing his summer objective of improving the non-scoring aspects of his game. He felt that his showing in California was clear evidence of his progress.
"Something I really needed to work on was off the ball defense," Jackson said. "I really focused on that. I did a good job. None of the point guards I went against really scored against me."
Now home after traveling the country for well over a week, Jackson has had time to think a little more about recruiting and his visit to Florida. "It was all right," Jackson said of his visit to Gainesville. "It was decent…it was nice. When I first got down there I met the players. We (he and his mom) met Coach Donovan's family. We talked about some things and I got a different view of Billy Donovan. I asked a lot of questions and he answered them. Then we went to the gym and worked out. After that I hung out with the players. I was with Cory Brewer most of the time. It was real good. They were all cool."
One of Jackson's questions to Donovan had to do with playing time. Though the Gator coach would not make any promises, he assured the cat-quick point guard that he would at least have the opportunity to play. "He was just letting me know the truth…that I had to come in and work just like anyone else," Jackson said. "It's basically there for me and I have head start because of what I've been doing for myself. He said I couldn't just come in there and think it's mine and it's going to be given to me. I was cool with that. It would be something to work for if I went there."
With the trip to Florida out of the way, the task now becomes comparing the Gators to the Wolverines. Jackson had an outstanding visit to Ann Arbor in mid May, but his time in Gainesville stacked up fairly well. "It was real close," Jackson said regarding how his Florida visit compared to the one to Michigan. "There is a lot of stuff you could pick out, but I'm not really trying to choose right now. I'm just chilling. I'm going to commit by mid July. I don't think I'm going to make that visit to Virginia. I was going to take an unofficial visit there while I was down there for the NBA camp, but I'm not sure that I'm going to do NBA now because I got beat up while I was playing USA basketball."
Even if Jackson were to take another visit or two, it would be surprising if another program was able to alter the respective standings of Florida and Michigan on his list. Furthermore, it appears that is going to be quite difficult for the Gators to unseat the Wolverines when the young point guard sits down to make his decision. "What I think it's really going to come down to and what's eating me up is home," Jackson said. "Michigan really has an advantage because it's home. It's closer to home and I don't really have to leave my family. If anything happens, I don't have far to go or long to wait. It will also come down to which place I think I can adapt to quicker."
Prior to the Florida trip, Jackson gave the Wolverines a big edge on his list. After his visit, where does the Maize and Blue stand? "Michigan is still the leader."
GoBlueWolverine will keep tabs on Jackson in the coming weeks.