Hoop Team Lands First Commitment

The early-signing period for college basketball does not start until November. But Ed DeChellis and his staff have already secured their initial commitment. Blue-chip forward David Jackson, not to be confused with the juco guard of the same name who signed with PSU in the spring, announced for the Nittany Lions Wednesday.

The confusion began when Penn State received a verbal commitment from a David Jackson in the spring.

Many folks just assumed it was the David Jackson who starred at Kennedy-Catholic High in Hermitage, Pa., as a junior in 2004-05. The 6-foot-7, 190-pounder led his team to the PIAA A title game and scored 26 points to go along with seven rebounds in a losing effort. What's more, he was (and is) coached by Tim Loomis, a former Nittany Lion assistant.

As it turned out, however, the David Jackson in question at the time was not that David Jackson, but rather a slick 6-2 guard who excelled at Gulf Coast Community College in Florida the past two seasons.

Which would have been easy enough to follow if the story ended there. But it did not. Because on Wednesday, the David Jackson from Kennedy-Catholic announced for Penn State, too.

“I just felt comfortable with the staff,” he reported. “Their program is on the rise, and I like what they have to offer.”

He picked the Nittany Lions over West Virginia and will sign a binding letter of intent with Penn State in November. Syracuse, Michigan and Florida State had also shown interest. This Jackson averaged 17.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game as a junior while earning first-team All-State honors.

Loomis said PSU coach Ed DeChellis and assistant Hilliary Scott began recruiting Jackson from the time they arrived at Penn State in April of 2003.

“He's the type of kid they've always gotten,” said Loomis, who was on Bruce Parkhill's PSU staff (along with DeChellis) from 1987-89. “He's a great student, a great kid and comes from a quality family. It is a great get for Penn State.”

The Golden Eagles have gone 77-14 the past three seasons. Jackson, who has started since his freshman year, has been a key to that success, even though he is young for his class. He will not turn 17 until September.

“He's younger than one of our juniors,” Loomis said. “We play him anywhere on the floor: At the point, bringing the ball up; I play him at power forward; We use him as a two-three combination. His spot at the college level will be a two-three combination.”

“I'm a hard-worker who rebounds well and can shoot,” Jackson added. “I'm athletic. I just play hard all the time on the court. I have a lot of work to do before I'm ready [for college ball]. But I'll play hard, hopefully win a state championship, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Jackson's mother, Andrea, is the assistant women's volleyball coach at Youngstown State. A native of Farrell, Pa. (where the family still resides), she was recruited by legendary Penn State volleyball coach Russ Rose but opted instead to attend Cincinnati and later Central Florida. She made the U.S. Olympic team in 1980.

The household includes David, Andrea and her parents. The player credits his mom and grandparents for instilling a great work ethic and for putting a premium on education.

“My family is very important to me,” he said.

A member of the Cleveland Titans AAU team, he traveled to a tournament in North Carolina last weekend. His mom came along on the trip.

“It was really the first time I had a chance to talk to my mom about college,” David said. “And we decided Penn State was the best place for me.”

Even if he is not the only David Jackson in the program.

“That should be interesting,” the latest Jackson said with a laugh. “I want to meet him and see what he's like. I hear he's very good.”

That seems to be the scouting report on David Jacksons these days.


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