Jackson Speaks About Camp, Recruiting (With Video)

Greenfield (Oh.) McClain and their star player Dante Jackson made a leap up in competition by coming to the OSU team camp and playing against teams like Columbus Brookhaven, but Jackson and the team more than held their own. We have an update today in which Jackson talks about the camp and his recruiting options, and we also have some video clips with highlights of Jackson's camp showing. Click the link to check it out.

Greenfield (Ohio) McClain guard Dante Jackson is one of the state's top 10 juniors-to-be. He was on display with his Tigers team at last weekend's Ohio State team camp.

The 6-4 Jackson has helped lead McClain to back-to-back Division II regional tournament berths. As a freshman, the Tigers were 19-6. This past year, Jackson was a first-team All-Ohio pick – rare for a sophomore – as he averaged 25 points, 11.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. He had 39 points in his team's regional semifinal loss to Columbus Linden McKinley. That defeat left McClain at 22-3 for the year.

Greenfield is located in rural Highland County, about halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati. It's south of Washington C.H., west of Chillicothe and east of Hillsboro.

So it is a fairly heady move for Jackson and the Tigers to come to OSU and go up against teams like Columbus Brookhaven, Reynoldsburg and Canisius from New York, among others.

McClain actually led Brookhaven almost the entire game before Jackson missed the front end of a one-and-one in the final minute, paving the way for Brookhaven to snatch the win.

"Anytime you come in and you have eight guys and you compete like we did with a Division I school like Brookhaven … we should have beat them," he said. "At first I was mad about that. But then I thought I'd rather have that happen in June than in late March. I look at it like a learning experience. There were great teams here."

Jackson came back in the next game and hit the winning free throws in the same situation against Canisius.

"Yep, two hours later, I'm happy again," he joked.

For two days, 19 teams labored in the team camp on courts in Value City Arena, the Schottenstein Center practice gym and St. John Arena. The event gave kids a taste of OSU and also allowed OSU coaches to spend time with some potential prospects.

"It's a great experience," Jackson said. "I talked to Coach (Dan) Peters quite a bit today. I've talked to Coach Matta and some of the players. They're real nice. They don't shy away from you. They come over and start conversations with you.

"I'm looking forward to coming to a school where you get a chance to prove yourself and get a chance to win a championship."

Ohio State has not offered Jackson, ranked as Ohio's seventh-best junior-to-be by Ohio High, a scholarship yet. But it is clear that OSU is a school at or near the top of his list.

"I'm going to come up to some games for football and some for basketball," Jackson said. "We're going to stay in contact with each other. I have some other schools I'm interested in."

In fact, Xavier is the first major school that has offered.

"I am pleased about that," Jackson said of the XU offer. "West Virginia has been there since day one, just like Ohio State. We've also heard from Kentucky and Georgetown. Some of the bigger schools are starting to come. I'm a pretty loyal guy. I want to stay somewhere close to home.

"I've got two more years. If an offer (from OSU) comes at the beginning of next year, that would be great. That would be awesome. They've got their junior class they have to look forward to right now. They have to recruit one year at a time. I'm just a junior-to-be. I'm glad to have Ohio State even talking to me now. I'm not stressed out about it."

Jackson believes the Buckeyes are on the verge of something big.

"Coach Matta knows how to recruit," Jackson said. "Not to knock Coach O'Brien, because I think he did a good job. But I don't think he went out and got some of the top players in the state. He didn't get mediocre players because he got some really good players. But I think Coach Matta has taken it a step further. He has gone out and gotten some great players. That's good for Ohio State. That's good for our community."

And, although OSU has verbal commitments from seniors-to-be Daequan Cook and David Lighty in the backcourt, Jackson sees some room for himself as well.

"I would love to come and play with Daequan," he said. "I have played with him before. And also with David. I've never played with him. But I think it would be good to have an opportunity to come and play with those guys."

Although Jackson would certainly be a weapon in the post for his high school team, his coach has used him almost exclusively in the backcourt and a great deal at point guard. That has helped make Jackson a versatile player and helped his college stock immensely.

"I'm comfortable running the point and bringing the ball up the floor," he said. "I have no problem doing that. I would honestly prefer to be on the wing and be able to move around and set picks and all of that. But I am the kind of player who will do whatever the coach asks me to do. Right now, my coach has asked me to take care of the ball and lead the team, and I'm fine with that. I think that will make me a better player by doing that."

As for this summer, Jackson has one more AAU tournament with the Cincinnati Cowboys. He will finish July playing for the All-Ohio AAU program.

"Right now, the Cowboys are scheduled to play one more tournament in Louisville," he said. "After that, I'm going to try and hook up with All-Ohio. Me and (Upper Sandusky's) Jon Diebler are pretty good friends. I'll probably go to a couple of tournaments with them. One of them is in New Orleans and then the nationals in Florida."

Below, we have link to video clips of Jackson playing in OSU's team camp this past weekend at Value City Arena. To watch these videos, you will need Microsoft Media Player. Click here to download the most recent version of Media Player. Choose a link below:

Video 1 | Video 2

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