FREE: Jackson says SMU at the top of his list

Omar talked with one of SMU's newest targets in the 2016 class, Garfield Heights do-it-all player Willie Jackson, who picked up an SMU offer recently.

It looks like the loss of five-star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay won’t affect SMU in recruiting as much as most people expected.

Since deciding to play professionally overseas, Mudiay hasn’t stopped talking positively about Larry Brown and the Mustangs.

Class of 2016 small forward Willie Jackson spoke to Mudiay recently about SMU after receiving an offer from the Mustangs.

“I’ve talked to Emmanuel and he said the program was great,” Jackson said. “I’ve called and talked to a lot of people about SMU and I’ve heard really great things about it."

"Emmanuel’s decision didn’t effect how I feel about SMU at all because he was still very positive about them.”

Jackson, who attends Garfield Heights High School (OH), is rated as a three-star in the class of 2016. He hasn’t spoken with any of the SMU coaches yet, but remains highly interested in the school.

“They offered me through my coach, so they haven’t called me yet and I haven’t talked to them,” Jackson said. “But I’m very interested. There’s a lot to like. They are definitely at the top of my list.”

Jackson used to play for the All-Ohio Red in AAU, but is now a member of King James. He has never visited SMU before, but hopes to get a chance soon.

“The coach and the coaching staff are great,” Jackson said. “It means a lot to be recruited by somebody with the experience and knowledge of Larry Brown.” Jackson has grown from 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds to 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds in the last year. He averaged 17 points, nine rebounds, and two assists during his sophomore season.

Although he holds offers from Akron, Iowa State, Penn State, Toledo, Wisconsin, and more, Jackson says he has a list of schools he likes the most.

“I’m interested in Xavier, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and, of course, SMU. That’s really it,” he said. “I’m going to cut down my list after my junior season at Garfield.”

Jackson said academics will play a big role in his decision. He wants to study criminal justice and has been checking which schools offer it as a major.

“I looked on the Internet and SMU has my major,” Jackson said. “That’s very important to me. It’s a great school.”

Jackson has a fantastic frame and great size. He is very strong and can post up on the low block, but has the skills to take his man off the dribble or knock down shots from the perimeter.

“I don’t have a set position. I can play and guard all five positions,” Jackson said. “I think my versatility, rebounding, and basketball IQ are what separates me.”

Jackson says his goal for next season is to be the number one player in the class and have his team win the state championship. No matter what happens, the Cleveland native should start to get more attention across the country as he continues to improve.

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