The 6-foot-3 guard is a standout at St. Pius X High School in Houston, and also features for former University of Texas and NBA guard T.J. Ford’s AAU team, TJ Ford Elite. After narrowing his list of schools down to four recently, Jackson decided to go with the school which helped jump-start his mother’s road to basketball fame.
RP: So you committed to Texas Tech. Tell me, what was the deciding factor for you to go with the Red Raiders?
JJ: Well, the deciding factor was really just the community being what it is. As soon as I got there, everybody was really welcoming; they showed me how much they wanted me to be part of the basketball program there. I felt a connection with the team, it was there automatically. I connected and bonded with the team really well and really connected with the coaching staff as well. I felt like, off of that, this was really the place for me.
RP: So, obviously being the son of a women’s basketball icon and all the baggage that comes with that, how do you plan to distinguish yourself as your own man in comparison with your mom?
JJ: I don’t really try to think about that. Like, if you do that, then you’re gonna overdo it. You’re gonna say, “Well, I have to be better than her.” What she did for women’s basketball was second-to-none; it can never be replicated by anyone, men or women. I’m going in to make a name for myself, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do: help the team, be a good teammate, and make a name for myself.
RP: You played for TJ Ford’s Elite AAU team in Houston. This is a two-parter: how much of a role has Mr. Ford – if at all – played in your basketball career? Secondly, who is – besides your mother – someone you look up to in the game of basketball?
JJ: Oh, TJ was great. I made a decision to play with him this summer; I should have played with him a long time ago, but I’m not gonna dwell on that. Being able to have the opportunity to play with his program this summer was tremendous. He did a great job getting us in front of coaches, playing – whether that was in Indianapolis, here [Houston] or Vegas, there was always coaches watching us. That was really what got me to Tech: him putting us in front of Oregon, OU, Tech, and Vegas. I performed at the highest level I could possibly perform at, Tech recognized it and offered me a scholarship, which was an amazing feeling. To top that second question you asked: you know, everyone says they look up to LeBron James…well, I also look up to Jamal Crawford as well.
RP: Well, that’s a very interesting choice. Why Jamal Crawford?
JJ: He’s a quick player, and he’s really crafty. I’m trying to model my game after Jamal Crawford: the craftiness, the quickness, the shiftiness that he plays with.
RP: What do you provide that would distinguish yourself here? Where do you think you can make your mark with the program?
JJ: I don’t really wanna say that I’m doing anything better than anyone else – that’s not the case. The team that they have now is tremendous. They’re gonna do big things. The Red Raiders are gonna make noise in the Big 12 this year. Bringing me to the program next year, with my athleticism, is just gonna top on to that athletic ability they already have on the team – with my athletic ability, shoot the ball off the dribble, shoot the 3-pointer. Defensively, help the team as well with my left. Those are some things I can bring to the table for the Texas Tech men’s basketball team.
RP: What are your basketball strengths? Where do you see yourself being the most effective on the court?
JJ: My strength is playing in transition – getting the ball out of the net and up the floor. That’s my strength; I can also play in a half-court set. It’s not one of my strengths, but when I do play in a half-court set, especially in a motion offense, or pick-and-roll, I can use my length on the offensive side of the floor and get to the basket.
RP: Where do you see yourself trying to improve? The college game is different from high school, you know.
JJ: Oh, man, it’s completely different. I talked to my mom, my dad, Coach TJ, my coach from high school, Coach Carl. They’re like, “Yeah man, this is no joke. You’re going to the Big 12; you’re basically going against pros.” I recognize it as well. I’ve been working on my ball handling, my mental toughness, my mental preparation for games, and being more mature on the floor and off the floor. That’s a transition I really see taking place and it’s getting there.
RP: You watch the Big 12 and say to yourself, “Those are some pros you’re playing against.” You’ve got the University of Texas, Kansas, and everyone else in between. What teams are you intrigued by, to go against, now that you’re going to Tech?
JJ: You can’t really distinguish – it’s the Big 12, period. In conference play, night in and night out, it’s a battle. Oklahoma State last year, Tech battled with them. Kansas, Tech battled with them, went down to the wire, and boom - lost on a buzzer-beater by Andrew Wiggins. It’s gonna be really special to play night in and night out, in front of a packed crowd. Getting to play against Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State. It’s really a blessing.
RP: Houston being 10 hours away, you know, people make the drive to Tech and it’s a distance. Did you ever see distance as a problem when picking a school? And your ties with Tech, did it make it more comfortable for you to make the drive out there?
JJ: Distance did play a part in my decision. I did want to get away from Houston, but at the same time I didn’t want to be somewhere completely far away. But, with Tech – yes, it’s a 10-hour, 11-hour drive, but it’s an hour and 15-minute flight. That’s not bad at all. You know, that’s home for me. I was born in Lubbock; so it’s really special, it’s a home away from home. So when I go back, it’s like I never left. I felt comfortable being able to be there; I have some family members out there. So, it is what it is.
RP: Thanks a lot Jordan, good luck with your basketball season from here on out.
JJ: Thank you.
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