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Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future

ECU & C-USA Hoops Recruiting Report
Monday, November 24, 2003

By Thad Mumau
Special Correspondent

Pirates inclined to bow out of Jackson saga


Itís time for East Carolina basketball coaches to file Cedric Jacksonís name in the "Ones That Got Away" folder. And, apparently, thatís just what they have done.

"Thatís the impression I got," said Herman Johnson, Jacksonís coach at North Burlington High School in Columbus, NJ. "They said if Cedric didnít sign the letter of intent by the 19th, they would probably have to look elsewhere."

The fall signing period was Nov. 12-19, with Jackson deciding not to give the Pirates his autograph. Not long ago, it seemed as if that would be a mere formality. But teenagers are often fickle when it comes to romance and recruiting, and that was the case with the 6-2 1/2 guard.

What appeared to be love at first sight proved no more than infatuation as Jacksonís feelings for ECU lost strength with the passing of time.

It was mid-September when we reported that Jackson had committed to Bill Herrionís program. The prospect and his family were extremely impressed with their visit to the Greenville campus and felt the fit with the Bucs was a perfect one.

As it turned out, however, Jackson decided not to commit. At first, he said that would likely take place in the near future, but his father was gone when time came for the announcement and it was important that he be on hand. But time dragged on, and nothing happened.

Johnson was optimistic, saying there were just a few things that needed to be ironed out, a question or two that needed answering. Herrion and East Carolina assistant Greg Herenda traveled to New Jersey and met Jackson, his parents and his coach in a diner. Cedricís mother was pleased with what she heard and even advised her son to go ahead and give ECU a promise, according to Johnson.

But it didnít happen. Johnson, who said he has known Herenda for quite a while, was in the Bucsí corner all the way. He said nice things about Herrion and the ECU basketball program and explained why it would be good for Jackson to be a part of it.

Still, nothing. September turned into October, and then the signing date was right around the corner. Johnson continued to feel that Jackson would sign with East Carolina. Various websites reported in the past week that he did.

"He didnít," Johnson said. "Cedric did not sign.

"I think he was hesitant because of all the schools that left Conference USA. On a number of occasions, he had said, `Coach, Iím really looking forward to playing Louisville and Cincinnati and Marquette twice.í He doesnít feel good about the conference now.

"He wants to open up his recruitment again and see what happens," Johnson said. "He hopes to play in one of the bigger conferences. His goal is to play in the ACC or Big East. A lot of new teams come knocking in the late period."

There wasnít anything Herrion and his staff could have done differently that would have changed the outcome with Jackson.

"To their credit, the East Carolina coaches recruited Cedric hard," Johnson said. "If they got him early, it would have been a steal. When he came back here after his visit, he was hot for East Carolina. When he didnít make the commitment, things cooled off and kept getting cooler.

"Cedric realizes East Carolina will have to keep looking and will probably give the scholarship to someone else. I hope theyíre going to leave the porch light on at night, but realistically, they will likely move on."

St. Bonaventure and Florida International have contacted Jackson in recent days, but neither is expected to land him.

Jackson, who is ranked No. 193 among the nationís seniors by, averaged 24.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, six assists and 4.5 steals as a junior.

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02/23/2007 02:40:43 PM

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