July 9, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
It’s a good bet that it will not take long next fall for Tadric Jackson to make an impression upon Georgia Tech basketball fans because he’s not one to take long.
He plays the game in attack mode.
The freshman shooting guard did stretch out the process of choosing a college program, if only a little, and that “football conference” had his serious attention.
Tech was long in the mix for his talents, yet Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss were serious players, too.
In the end, proof emerged that Jackson is at times a thinker, and a young man possessed of wisdom. He chose Tech because of the future value of an Institute education, and for sake of the Yellow Jackets’ allies in sport.
Helping Tift County High with the state AAAAAA title and being named All-Class player of the year was great, but that’s so in the past. Jackson’s always angling forward and he figures the Atlantic Coast Conference can help speed him along.
“It was ACC, the best conference in basketball right now,” he said of a key factor in his choice of Tech. “I want to make myself better.”
Of the three freshman whom head coach Brian Gregory has brought into the Tech program, including post men Ben Lammers and Abdoulaye Gueye, Jackson looks to insiders to have the greatest opportunity to play the most the soonest.
As a senior at Tift County, he averaged 18.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a senior even though he trimmed his shot rate from his junior season, when he scored 15.4 points per contest.
While the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jackson has a handle, he is more a scorer than a distributor. As an offensive player, he will bear similarities to departed guard Trae Golden in the way he vaults himself at the rim.
He does not figure to have the ball in his hands as often as did Golden, however, because Jackson lines up more as a shooting guard.
There, he’ll compete and play alongside his cousin, junior Chris Bolden.
Seriously, they’re cousins.
Jackson and Bolden saw each other a fair amount while growing up, and for a time Bolden lived in Tifton before moving north at graduating from North Gwinnett High.
Their body types are somewhat similar – thick.
Their games, Tadric does not hesitate to say, are not so much.
“To be honest, we’re not the same kind of players. He’s a shooter,” Jackson said. “I’m a slasher type.”
He has a look that might prompt some to think him a football player. In fact, he was, and not merely in name. He was a player.
Jackson quarterbacked Tift County – a school in the state’s biggest classification, AAAAAA – so well as a freshman and a sophomore that he began landing on many recruiting radars, and gained attention as one of the top prep signal callers in the Southeast for his age.
Then, he said, “My coach left, and another guy came in and tried to change the tradition and I didn’t like it so stuck with basketball [as a junior and a senior].”
Schooling and playing at Tech will fetch benefits for Jackson that go beyond education and conference affiliation. It’s close to his parents. His mother, Natasha, lives in Ashburn, Ga., less than three hours south, and his father, Damedric, is in Macon.
Jackson began honing in on his new surroundings last season, when he attended a handful of games in McCamish Pavilion for scouting purposes.
Already, he has a little black book in his head of future opponents.
“I came to some of the home games last year . . . to see the speed of the game,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing.”
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