"It's All About The Game"

‘Boo’ Jackson, Remaining at Manhattan, Expects Big Things

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Bailey, Publisher

 

Jackson, seen here between summer workouts, expects to hit the MAAC Conference full steam ahead this fall.

 

August 14, 2006 - Over the last year and a half, life has been tumultuous for Christian “Boo” Jackson. The 6’5” scoring guard/forward who grew up in Alexandria, VA, prepping for three years at Archbishop Carroll (Wash., DC) before enrolling in and graduating from Suitland High School (Suitland, MD), has gone from flying high, to feeling low. Recently he shared he’s is rising once again.

“I’m up at Manhattan (College)” said Jackson during a recent phone interview. He loves New York City (the school is located in the Bronx), labeling the Big Apple “the land of opportunity”, while enjoying the school’s sense of community and camaraderie. This almost didn’t come to pass.

After a 2004-2005 senior year in which he led Suitland to a playoff appearance and in scoring, Boo was a third team All-Met selection who played not only in the 32nd Annual Capital Classic’s preliminary game, but also the Prince George’s County All-Star game. It was in that game that Manhattan came calling.

During the contest, Jackson indicated “I had like 20 points in the first half”, which prompted then Manhattan assistant coach Kevin McClain to approach Boo afterward. “He came to me and said ‘Where are you going to school’” recounted Jackson. Since he wasn’t committed to a college and as he put it “was laying in the weeds”, the young man was receptive to the Manhattan representative’s pitch.

After subsequent conversations, Manhattan’s staff at the time, led by Bobby Gonzalez, put their cards on the table. “They basically were saying we want to sign you now. Gonzalez came down. They wanted to sign the papers (letter of intent) right then”.

Boo was being recruited by the likes D.C area powerhouses George Washington and George Mason, along with Clemson and Mt. St. Mary’s, but their interest was predicated on his obtaining the necessary entrance examination score to facilitate NCAA qualification.

When that wasn’t accomplished, the other school’s backed off and according to Jackson “went with other players”. Not Manhattan, who continued their interest, something he is grateful for. “He (Gonzalez) gave me a chance to better my life after the SAT thing” said Jackson. “All of the other colleges kind of turned their back”.

Instead of enrolling at Manhattan and sitting out a year as a partial-qualifier, Boo decided to continue trying his hand at the test, as he was close to the needed mark. The lack of organized basketball in his life, and seeing his peers go off to college while he stayed at home had an understandably debilitating effect on Jackson.

“It was a time when I was depressed last year” he revealed. “I was working at City Hall in Alexandria, VA, but I wasn’t playing ball. All of the guys I grew up with, Darian Townes (Arkansas), Justin Castleberry (Bucknell), Dante Cunningham (Villanova), were somewhere playing.

“I was looking at my body. I graduated from high school weighing 218 pounds. I stepped on the scale, and it said 255. I looked at my (high school) clippings and stuff. I knew it wasn’t supposed to be like this”.

 

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