Jackson updates recruitment

2016 Garfield Heights forward Willie Jackson talked with Hatts about his SMU interest and summer plans!

It was a successful weekend for 2016 King James (OH.) forward Willie Jackson, including a grueling overtime win over Team Final and Tony Carr.

“It was a war, I didn’t play to my best potential but we got the job done,” Jackson said.

Jackson did do his part on the defensive end of the floor while leaving the scoring for teammate Derrick Funderburk Jr. who dominated throughout.

“I played defense, rebounded, kept my man under 10 points and made plays when they needed to be made,” Jackson said.

King James head coach Steve Wright was thrilled with how active Jackson was on the defensive end and on the boards in their 3-1 campaign at the Nike EYBL.

“He’s been active, been the Willie that he’s been, dominating the boards, running the floor and just being a beast, that’s the way Willie is, that’s his identity and he needs to continue it,” Wright said.

For his coach, the athleticism that Jackson brings to the table is hard to match on the court.

“He brings a lot of athleticism to our team, I think all the way across the board our team is athletic, but Willie is one of our most athletic guys and we stress that he has to use that for rebounding, offensive rebounding, getting out in transition and getting layups,” Wright said.

The 6-6, 215-pound forward has recently heard from SMU, whom he holds an offer from, just stressing they would love for him to join their team.

“They called, I will be taking my visit in September, at the end of the summer I am going to take all my visits,” Jackson said, “They just told me to keep working, there isn’t much to say once they give you the offer, the coaches just hit me up and tell me they want me at the school it just comes down to my decision.”

The feeling appears to be mutual, as Jackson says he has built a strong relationship with SMU head coach Larry Brown.

“I like it, they’ve got a legendary coach, it’s nice in Dallas I was just up there, was up there working out then flew down here to play, I like it,” Jackson said.

When it comes down to making a decision, Jackson will be looking at the school as whole and how he fits in there.

“My major, how many veterans they’ve got on the team, how my workout plan is stuff like that,” Jackson said.

Jackson has offers from a number of schools including Iowa, Iowa State, SMU, Wisconsin, Akron, Bowling Green, Illinois, Minnesota, Old Dominion, Penn State and Toledo.

As he heads into his senior year, the focus is on getting better on the offensive end for Jackson.

“Ball handling, shooting, I watch a lot of film to see where I’m messing up or how I’m playing defense on a guy,” Jackson said.

For his coach, it was a lot of the same things but he also stressed Jackson needs to remember who he is.

“He needs to get better at shooting it, putting it on the floor,” Wright said, “We always stress with Willie to just be who he is and not trying to be somebody that he’s not, and just rebound, run the floor, being a beast on the post and not trying to play on the outside.”

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