Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future
Thursday, September 18, 2003
By Thad Mumau
Backcourt wizard still
pondering 'official' pledge
This is the
story of a commitment that isnít a commitment that will probably become a
commitment, possibly very soon. If that sounds confusing, it is, but there
are reasons for the confusion.
And the kicker
is that the ending could be good news for East Carolina basketball.
have been working hard to land Cedric Jackson, a 6-2 1/2 point guard, who is
ranked No. 194 among the nationís senior players by Prepstars.com. He
averaged 24.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, six assists and 4.5 steals last season.
Sept. 12, ECU head coach Bill Herrion and assistant Greg Herenda made an
in-school visit to Jackson at North Burlington High School in Columbus, N.J.
This followed an official trip by the prospect to East Carolina Sept. 5-7.
On hand, in
addition to the Piratesí coaches and Jackson, were his coach, Herman
Johnson, and the North Burlington athletic director. The playerís father was
not present, and that is an important part of the scenario.
anticipation that day in New Jersey, anticipation that Jackson would commit
to East Carolina. He even said thatís what he wanted to do.
locked and loaded," Johnson said. "I thought he was ready (to commit). It
looked like thatís what was going to happen."
But it didnít,
at least not "officially."
was," Johnson pointed out, "that Mr. Jackson was not there. Cedric wanted
him to be there when he made that announcement. His dad wanted to be there."
So, what broke
as a commitment to the Pirates turned out not to be a commitment, but only a
false alarm, so to speak.
seemed only a matter of time. In fact, Johnson said he thought the
"official" word would come Tuesday, Sept. 16, with Mr. Jackson beside his
son for the announcement. That day came and went, however, and nothing else
"I still think
itís going to happen," Johnson said Wednesday. "But I canít speak for Cedric
or his dad or their family. At this time, letís just say there has been a
reaction would be that another school had gotten to the Jacksons, found a
crack in their resolve and made recruiting inroads. But that is not the
any other schools," Johnson said. "Cedric doesnít have any other visits
planned. I think itís just a thing where he wants to make very sure about a
decision that is very important, very big, in his life.
Jackson says heís going to East Carolina ó if he makes a commitment ó then
you can count on him signing a letter of intent. He comes from the old
school where his word is his bond. His handshake is the same as his
signature on a contract. He isnít going to commit and then change his mind
like you see some kids do. Thatís just the way he is, and thatís the way we
do things here. I tell kids their word means something.
"One thing to
keep in mind," Johnson said, "is that, when kids visit a school, they come
back excited. Everything is great. That isnít the best time to make a
decision. Itís best to let things settle down and think about everything for
a while. Thatís what Cedric is doing."
Jackson and his father are scheduled to have a telephone conversation with
Herrion, and it could be that something "official" will take place then.
possible," Johnson said. "Or, it could happen before then. Cedric and his
dad may wake up tomorrow morning and say they are ready.
"I told them
that they have to keep in mind what the deal is with the East Carolina
coaching staff. They have to recruit players. They want Cedric, but they
canít wait forever. If there is another kid they want who says he is ready
to commit, then it could be that the offer wonít be out there for Cedric any
longer. Thatís just the way it is.
(Jackson and his dad) think about that, it could be that they will not want
to delay any longer. But I donít know.
"What I do
know," Johnson said, "is they like East Carolina a whole lot. They like the
program, the coaches, the campus and the league (Conference USA). They just
want to be very sure before they give their word.
"I think it
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02/23/2007 02:40:52 PM