Brittany Jackson opens basketball academy

Tennessee native and former Lady Vol standout Brittany Jackson is now running a basketball academy that emphasizes shooting and skills with an upcoming camp for girls and boys to be held this month in Middle Tennessee.

The Brittany Jackson Basketball Academy – her website can be viewed HERE – was formed four months ago.

The next camp will be July 21-23 at Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tenn., near Nashville, and attendees can sign up HERE.

Jackson also provides sessions for groups or teams and individual instruction for one to three players or small groups.

"It's something I've always wanted to do, especially in this area," said Jackson, who is from Cleveland, Tenn., near Chattanooga. "It's where I started and grew up."

Jackson, who was a local star at Bradley Central High School, was a sharpshooter for Tennessee from 2001 to 2004 and holds the fifth spot on the career record list for three-pointers with 161.

Her father, Turner Jackson, is the athletic director at her old high school, so she has access to those facilities plus two other gyms. Her clients range in age from seven to teen years.

"We work on the court – fundamentals and skills of basketball," Jackson said. "I work with kids one on one and small groups, too. I also work with teams. I show them things they can take home and work on when they are not with me. I teach the things I've been taught through all my years in basketball. I've been blessed with great coaches."

Jackson played professionally overseas after her career at Tennessee ended, and she has been invited to play this coming season in Turkey. Jackson said she is mulling the opportunity and is likely to spend at least a few months overseas before returning stateside to focus on her academy.

"I still want to play," Jackson said. "It's hard to give it up and it would be during the time when most of my kids that I am working with are in their season, so they are going to be practicing with their teams. I could go overseas, play for a couple of months and then come back and pick up (the sessions) after their seasons.

"Right now I am busy with the kids every day, but it's going to slow down in October."

Jackson recently held a camp at Seymour High School near Knoxville and plans to return in August for a pre-back-to-school session. With school out for the summer, Jackson said she has been busy and spends nearly every morning, afternoon and evening in a gym.

Jackson said she had periodically worked with children after she left Tennessee and decided to make it a full-time pursuit. She also did some broadcast work but that has been put on the backburner for now while she focuses on her academy. Jackson has worked seven days a week this summer, as it's easier for some parents to schedule the sessions on weekends.

"I really want to get back into it (broadcasting), so hopefully next season, because I love it," Jackson said.

Jackson's status as a former Lady Vol has helped bring name recognition to her academy and bring in clients.

"Especially in this area," Jackson said. "I want to make it nationwide. I would love to go work with kids all over the country, but I wanted to establish something here. This is where I started. This is where I grew up.

"I was just like these kids. I speak at some of the camps around here and I tell them, ‘I was sitting in your same position. Playing for Pat Summitt it was a dream come true. You grow up around here being a Lady Vol fan.' I try to teach these kids and tell them, ‘It can happen. I was there. I started exactly where you are.'

"There are so many Tennessee Lady Vol fans around here and kids that idolize Pat Summitt just like I did."

Jackson, like every former player, spent her share of time adjusting to Summitt's daily expectations but said the passage of time brings clarity and peace.

"It is a very intense and tough program," Jackson said. "I wouldn't take anything back. The experiences that I had, four Final Fours, it was a great experience. But when you first finish it's like you've done it your whole life and it's so intense and you just want a break.

"But then as the years pass you realize how much she has taught you and how blessed you were to go through that experience. The older you get, you appreciate more what she's done for you and all the coaches I played for, high school and everything."

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