Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Getting the Point | by Mike

Mike Brey has received a verbal commitment from Michigan point guard Tory Jackson, who visited campus the weekend of the MSU game. Jackson is deemed a "four-star player" by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. Before opting for the Irish he had narrowed his choices to Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan, and Southern Cal.

In his Rivals profile, he is described by David Grier, coach of Tory's AAU team the Michigan Hurricanes (talk about an unfortunate team name) as "super quick" and able to "score a number of ways."

He has a very good midrange game and knows how to shoot the runner real well. Tory plays with a lot of fire and intensity. He gets after it defensively and is very skilled.
You can learn more about Jackson by reading his USA basketball profile. Selected highlights include:
Getting along with nine new teammates as a member of the USA Blue Team is a breeze for the 5-10 guard, compared to fighting for food with his 13 siblings.

Last season Jackson led his Buena Vista High School (Mich.) basketball team to a No. 3 ranking in the final regular season poll and averaged 29.5 ppg., 8.0 rpg. and 5.0 apg., which earned Jackson the 2005 Michigan Class C Player of the Year. On the field, he averaged 326 passing and 125 rushing yards as quarterback for Buena Vista's football squad.

How would you describe your game?
Dwyane Wade type. I can score when I want to, but I'm looking forward to helping my team. Instead of me getting my points, I'm going to be selfless because this is a team.

What's the best part of your game?
Being a creator on the floor.

Weakest part?
Off the ball defense.
If the descriptions of Tory's game from Grier and Jackson himself are accurate, Tory has the potential to provide the speed and athleticism necessary to round out what is shaping up to be a pair of solid, complementary recruiting classes.

Jackson's quick emergence also addresses two other concerns for fans of Irish hoops. When Matt Bouldin committed to Gonzaga before taking his Notre Dame visit, it was hard not to be disappointed. Though Bouldin is primarily a shooting guard, his exceptional passing abilities would have allowed him to serve as an emergency backup at the point. Thus Notre Dame would have addressed its depth issues at point guard for the 2006-2007 season without actually taking a point guard in this recruiting class. Brey could then finally move to his preferred cycle of taking a point every other year, a plan that has been thrown off ever since Greg Paulus reneged. With Jackson, Notre Dame once again has taken point guards in consecutive years, with Jackson following on the heels of Kyle McAlarney in the previous class. However, the opportunity to add someone of Jackson's athleticism (quick and reportedly able to drop two-handed dunks) is too good to pass up. Jackson should also address the difficulty Notre Dame has long had in defending speedy Big East point guards.

Additionally, Jackson's commitment gives Irish fans further hope with the recruitment of Tom Herzog, a 7'0" center prospect and friend of Tory. Indeed, Jackson credited AAU teammate Herzog with piquing his interest in the Irish. According to what my best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who saw Herzog at 31 Flavors last night (okay, actually a poster on an MSU board), Herzog is down to Notre Dame and MSU. Hopefully Jackson will help his friend make the right choice.