"It's All About The Game"
Jackson Poised for Big Things at Cleveland State
Ron Bailey, Publisher
July 26, 2007 – The point in time was September, 2003, the place was a University of Maryland gym, which happened to be hosting a Charlie Weber travel team event. One of the facilities’ courts was packed, with observers waiting for an east coast grudge match; D.C. Assault was both battling their east coast rivals hailing from New Jersey, the Playaz, and protecting its home turf in the process.
In the midst of a tight game, the Playaz found themselves on a fast break. One of their prime players and a dunker of great notoriety that would become a National Basektball Association first round pick the following year, J.R. Smith was playing, and the crowd was primed for one of his incredible slams.
As the fast break developed, another Playaz player rose up and dunked with tremendous ferocity over a player much bigger, screaming after the play was completed. The crowd went crazy, necessitating a brief stoppage of play as order had to be restored. A truly memorable moment occurred.
Fast forward to last week. The scene was again a college gym, this time Georgetown’s McDonough Arena. Again, a player came out of nowhere in a fast break scenario to put down an eye-popping dunk, this one of the reverse, in traffic variety. While the game didn’t have to be stopped, as the refs in Jabbo Kenner League play run a tight ship, fans in attendance were definitely ‘wowed’.
The commonality in these events you ask? That’s one Cedric Jackson.
Jackson, with his father Bobby and mother Gwen, after Kenner League action. Cedric is a low key guy, who bashfully said "A little bit" when asked if he could pound the rims.
Standing 6’3”, and weighing 195 lbs, Jackson went on to sign with St. John’s University of the Big East, where he played for two seasons as a combo guard/defensive stopper. Before the 2006-2007, Cedric determined other pastures may in fact be greener. “I was looking for playing time” said Jackson of his decision to transfer. “I wanted to contribute (more)”.
He had to look no further, than the former coach of Big East rival Rutgers, Gary Waters. “I had recruited him in high school, and developed a good relationship with his father (Bobby) and high school coach” said Waters, who after leaving Rutgers after the 2005-2006 season immediately became Cleveland State’s head man.
“He wanted to make a difference and have a bigger role” continued Waters, on Jackson’s transfer motivation. “He felt at St. John’s his role would remain the same. Though they wanted him to stay, he knew what I could do for him”.
According to Waters, that is to be broadly involved in all facets of the Viking program. “He’s a combo type” of player noted Waters. “He’s going to guard, score for me, assist, and defend”.
In his coach’s opinion, Cedric is ready for his expanded responsibilities, as last season during the year long, non-eligibility period imposed when a student-athlete transfers, the young guy re-oriented his game. “He’s improved in just one year” shared Waters. “What happens when you get a kid that plays a role at a major program, you have to de-program him”.
Based upon Jackson’s Kenner League play, competing with its Electro-Lite team, he’s ready for the responsibility. Throughout the competition, he has defended, scored, and passed with some of the best backcourt players in America, including UConn’s Jerome Dyson, Georgetown’s Jon Wallace and Jessie Sapp, plus others.
Despite his success, and admitting strengths of “driving and playing point guard”, Cedric shared he has much to work on, such as “working on my shooting and ball handling”.
Waters has no doubt his young transfer, who joins two other outstanding transfers in this year’s class, standout. “Something special is about to happen” he said.
Not only will Cleveland State fans count on being treated to several ‘wow’ moment from Jackson, but can expect a broad game that will help the Vikings win.
They just need to make sure the they control themsleves, after he brings the house down.
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