Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future
Monday, September 15, 2003
By Thad Mumau
Pirates lay claim to Jersey
Cedric Jackson committed to East Carolina with plans to sign a basketball
letter of intent in November. The New Jersey guard announced his decision
over the weekend, one week after taking an official visit to Greenville.
The 6-2 1/2
Jackson, a prolific scorer who is also a creative playmaker, averaged 24.9
points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 4.5 steals as a junior. He sank 83
percent of his free throws and led North Burlington High to a 16-10 record,
with the team reaching the New Jersey Group II state semifinals.
about East Carolina was right for Cedric," North Burlington coach Herman
Johnson said. "He has relatives living in North Carolina, and his mother is
from Greensboro. Itís a six-hour drive from here to the campus, and his dad
is already talking about making that drive on weekends to see Cedric play.
"He loved his
visit down there, and so did his family. His parents and older brother went
with him, and they all liked everything about East Carolina. Cedric really
liked the coaches and players, and he is very excited about playing in
really no second choice for Jackson. Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Seton Hall
and Rutgers are among schools that were involved, but ECU was the only
school being talked about by him and his family this past week.
is getting a great player and a great kid," Johnson said. "The schoolís fans
are going to love him. Heís electric."
mostly two guard as a sophomore when he averaged 22 points, 8.5 rebounds,
6.3 assists and four steals as North Burlington went 5-5 in the Liberty
Division of the tough Burlington County Scholastic League and 15-7 with a
trip to the state playoffs.
"In the 10
years prior to Cedricís arrival here, North Burlington had a 29-160 record
in basketball," Johnson said, "and was 0-50 in the conference the past five
out at two guard last year, but after his injury, we moved him exclusively
to the point. From then on, he increased his scoring average without taking
suffered a high ankle sprain that kept him out of nine games (North
Brunswick was 2-7 without him). Following his return, the team finished 5-1
in regular season and made the playoffs.
In the opening
round, North Brunswick trailed by 15 points in the second quarter at
Pleasantville before Jackson emerged from the locker room wearing a red
one of the most electrifying quarters ever in the New Jersey state
playoffs," Johnson said. "He scored 23 points in the quarter and ended with
(a career-high) 42. He put his team on his back and carried it to (a 73-71)
victory. It was a tremendous performance.
"And he put
the finishing touch on it by blocking what could have been a game-winning
three-pointer with three seconds left in the game."
a triple-double, with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, in a must win
over Cinnaminson that helped propel North Brunswick into the postseason.
Prime-Time Shootout in late February, with LeBron James the eventís headline
act, Jackson stole the spotlight by exploding for 36 points to go with 14
boards, eight assists and six steals in North Brunswickís overtime upset of
Group IV power Trenton.
"Cedric is the
most unselfish player you are going to find," Johnson said. "Sure, he scores
a lot of points, but he is always looking to get the ball to someone with a
better shot than he has. When he has to, he can take over games, but he
loves to get everyone involved.
superstar who has played with average kids, and he is able to elevate the
people around him. He penetrates, sets up teammates and delivers the ball.
He gets his points despite being the focal point of every teamís defense.
Johnson said, "I think Cedric is a point guard. We believe thatís his true
position. He is a tremendous ball handler, penetrator and disher. He
slashes, gets to the basket and creates opportunities for others.
muscular at 185 pounds, lean and athletically gifted. His vertical leap is
over 40 inches, and youíll want to check him for wings. He is an explosive
leaper, and we often throw alley-oop passes to him ... thatís alley-oops to
our point guard.
three years with Bob Hurley at St. Anthonyís and I spent three years at
Elizabeth St. Patís," Johnson said. "I have been around a lot of great
players the last seven or eight years, and Cedric is right there with them.
"Heís a great
competitor and a great talent. East Carolina is getting a real treasure."
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