Freshman Focus: Meet Reggie Jackson
Nov. 10, 2008
By Jeff Weinstein
It took, one moment, one play, for Boston College to appear on Reggie Jackson's radar.
As a sophomore at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jackson recalled watching the Eagles play Duke on ESPN, in the finals of the 2006 ACC Basketball Tournament.
"I was a little mad because North Carolina was my favorite team and I couldn't believe BC beat them," Jackson joked.
BC point guard Louis Hinnant had the ball in his hands.
"He came down the floor and he dunked on like four different players at once, and I was like `What team is this?'" Jackson said.
Though the Eagles lost that memorable game in Greensboro, N.C., little did they know that they were beginning to win over the future Gatorade Player of the Year from Colorado.
"After that play, I knew they were for real," Jackson said. "The year after, I thought, `I could possibly see myself going there. If they offer me I think I might go there.'"
For some high school students, the thought of going to a school a long plane flight away from home remains just that, a thought, or in most cases, an afterthought.
For Reggie Jackson, it's the plane flight that was the afterthought.
The son of Sharon and Saul Jackson, an Air Force officer, Reggie was born in Pordenone, Italy, the youngest of three children, joining his older brothers Trez and Travis. Saul's occupation required the Jacksons to relocate often.
The first move was to England, where Reggie remembers watching his brothers playing soccer in the neighborhood park. Then, at age 5, the family moved to North Dakota.
"I remember playing out in the cold all the time in the park behind my house, in a clubhouse with my friends," Jackson said.
One year later, the Jacksons were on the move again, this time to Georgia, where Reggie remembers walking to school, and having his best friends right around the corner.
The next move was to Florida, where Reggie lived for a year.
"I played basketball and swam a lot," Jackson said.
Finally, before Reggie entered high school, the Jacksons settled in Colorado Springs.
Though the constant relocation made it difficult to get settled, it pulled Reggie closer to his older brothers, especially to Travis, who Reggie described as "the leader of the whole family."
When it came time to do college visits, Reggie had Travis come with him to help him figure out which would be the best fit.
"He has a sense of everything that's going on," Jackson said of his brother. "He got his master's (degree) from Michigan. He can read people well. He has an understanding of me, and knew what program would be best for me."
As Jackson visited campuses out west, he kept BC in the back of his mind. He was impressed enough with the school after his official visit to float the idea of coming to Chestnut Hill to his family.
"The summer before my senior year, BC offered and I remember talking to my brother and my dad," Jackson said. "When I (committed) it was totally unexpected."
Now, after officially being declared a US citizen in April (he had the choice between the United States and Italy) and another cross-country move, Jackson is ready to settle in at Boston College.
More so than many other freshman at BC, Jackson is prepared for the change to a new atmosphere. The only adjustments he has had to make thus far have been on the basketball court.
"My first few weeks (of practice) were pretty tough," Jackson said. "I never really had teammates that were of college caliber, players that could get it done also. There were times that I would break the play, and (Coach Skinner) has taught me to buy into the system and to trust the players around me."
And what can Eagles' fans expect when Jackson takes the floor this season? Perhaps an image similar to the one that attracted Jackson to the school in the first place, that of an emotional 6-feet, 3-inch guard dunking on an opposing team.
"I've seen how (BC players) have done it," Jackson said. "I've watched game film on them, and BC in general. The crowd, they feed into it. I've always been a vocal leader. I like to go out and enjoy the game and play with passion."