Dante Jackson has been caught up in the hoopla surrounding a recent scholarship offer from the University of Michigan – and rightfully so. It appears, however, that Jackson is still not yet ready to make the final plunge.
On Thursday afternoon, Bucknuts.com spoke with the 6-5 junior guard from
Greenfield (Ohio) McClain who through his team's first eight games is averaging
24.6 points a game and approximately eight rebounds a game.
Here is what Jackson had to say about his season, the Michigan offer, where
childhood favorites Ohio State and Kentucky stand in his recruitment, college
basketball and other things…
Bucknuts: First, talk about how your season has gone. You're 5-0 and it seems
like you're playing pretty good defense.
Dante Jackson: "Well, it's going pretty well. The first game was pretty
sluggish, didn't play very well or shoot very well. We ended up winning by 17
but we could have won by more. In game two we clicked on all cylinders. We shot
the ball well, played pretty good defense and won by 18 or so. That's been the
story since we've started 5-0: shoot the ball well and play good defense. So
we're pretty pleased with how we have played so far."
BN: I know it's not uncommon, but this year it seems like your scores have been
lower. Do you like to play a slow, deliberate game where it's about half-court
execution and defense?
"Not necessarily. If we have the opportunity to run, we're going to run. The
coach will probably tell you we're better if we run. Any time we get the chance
to outlet it and run, that actually helps us. We have the players and personnel
to play a half court game as well, but we have players who are good enough to
know when to run and know when not to run."
BN: You have Leesburg Fairfield as your next game I believe? What do you know
about them so far?
"I'm not real sure. They played last night and were drilled like 93-42 or
something. It will still be difficult because we're going to their place and
going on the road period is tough. Actually, this will be Coach Van Matre, if we
win, it will be Coach Van Matre's 400th win, so there's a lot of intensity and
focus in this game."
BN: Tonight you were hoping to make it up to the Michigan – Miami (Ohio) game,
was that disappointing not to be able to go?
"Definitely. It didn't work out. My mom actually thought she had a vacation this
week, but it turns out she doesn't. We have family coming in this week for the
holidays, so we'll just try to work it out where we can come up and look at the
campus or go see a game."
BN: "Did you get a chance to watch the Michigan-UCLA game? It was a pretty good
game to watch as a basketball fan."
"I didn't. I watched maybe two minutes of it but then we had to go. We played
that day so we had a walk-through."
BN: "Talk about what you've seen so far in college basketball – not just
Michigan necessarily, but your impressions on some of the teams you're looking
"Well, I mean, I'll start with Michigan. They're actually playing pretty well in
my opinion. They still have a little ways to go to get better. They have a
chance to compete in the Big Ten. I won't say they have a chance of winning it,
but I think they have a chance to get better and finish in the top three or
four. Ohio State is playing extremely well right now. I'll say they will be in
probably the top three or four as well. Dayton and Xavier – Xavier is playing
pretty well also. They have been the team I've been most impressed with because
I know last year they were 17-12, and I wasn't really expecting them to start
off as well as they have. Coach (Sean) Miller has done an excellent job. They
guard you so well and play great basketball. And then there's Dayton. Dayton has
done a good job and has a big game tonight against Cincinnati. They have
impressed me too. Their style of play I like a lot and I like their coaches. All
those teams I just mentioned should be in the NCAA Tournament in March."
BN: I'm sure that would be cool to see all four of those teams in the tournament
"Definitely would be. It would be real cool."
BN: Is it a big difference for you in watching basketball this year watching
some of these teams and how you fit in this year as compared to how you watched
them last year?
"Oh most definitely it is. I mean you're looking and you're watching these teams
play and you have their roster and looking and saying, ‘this guy will be gone
this year and he plays my position and that guy will be gone next year and he
plays my position and so on'. So it's kind of nerve wrecking because you can't
just sit down and watch a game and not worry about anything. But it's still
BN: Now you've got an offer from Michigan from what I understand, and Ohio State
and Kentucky have been reportedly turning up the heat a little bit on you right?
BN: Unless the other teams offer, it might not be as hard, but are you starting
to feel any pressure on yourself as to, oh boy, how am I going to choose if you
start getting more offers?
"I have always felt like that really. Throw in Kentucky and Ohio State if they
were to offer into the hat, it would be kind of nerve wrecking. At the same
time, it would be fun and kind of be an honor having Ohio State and the
winningest basketball program in the country both offering you a scholarship
with everyone else that has offered. It would be difficult, but it would be fun
BN: Are you happy that those other two schools (Kentucky and Ohio State) are
turning up the heat a little bit, and feel like you haven't been forgotten, or
are you more disappointed they haven't yet offered?
"No, I'm definitely happy. It's always good to talk to (Ohio State assistant)
Coach (Alan) Major or Coach (Thad) Matta on the phone. In fact, I talked to
Coach Major again yesterday. It's a good thing."
BN: Tell me where Ohio State stands with you so far. What do you know of the
situation and what have they said to you?
"I just know they have a high interest in me and will take this year and watch
me. You know, I'm not going to sit here and say they're going to offer tomorrow
or anything like that, or even this season necessarily, but I just know they're
still taking a high interest and sooner or later, they will offer hopefully."
BN: Do you want to take your time and wait until after the season to examine
things, or might you decide sooner with the teams that have offered already?
"No, I definitely want to wait. I don't see myself close to making a decision
until mid-June or early July or something like that. I'm not ready yet."
BN: Switching gears again Dante and talking about college hoops again – your
favorite player in college basketball is?
"Oh wow, this is a tough one. You know though, I actually like the Washington
kid from Gonzaga. Adam Morrison. It's unbelievable some of the things he's
capable of doing."
BN: You know, I don't want to say he's underrated because he's not exactly been
overlooked nationally, but for the schedule they play and he's averaging 30
points a game, it's almost like he doesn't get enough credit for what he's
"I agree totally."
BN: I know Washington might not be considered a great defensive ball club, but
he had over 40 points against them and he had, what, 42 points against Michigan State? It's unbelievable.
"He's put up some crazy numbers. I think he's the best player."
BN: I think I would maybe take him for Player of the Year over J.J. Redick right
"I think I would too – because of what he's had to do. He's got to basically do
anything and everything for Gonzaga. I mean, Redick has got Shelden Williams and
then the Paulus kid and all of these superstars beside him, so I agree."
BN: Switching gears to high school a little bit, I don't know if you've noticed,
but in the past you talked about all of the kids in Ohio in your class and now
it looks like they are playing really well. They're putting up some numbers.
"I haven't paid attention really because I've been busy, but hearing people talk
I would agree. It sounds like they're doing well."
BN: Well, OK, Dante, thank you for giving a few minutes again, and I'll catch up
with you again soon.
"Thanks Kyle, take care."
Jackson Says He's Likely to Continue Waiting
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