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March 4, 2013
Jackson joins UNC program
Houston (Tex.) wing standout Justin Jackson made public on Monday that he's taking his court talents to the University of North Carolina.
Moments after making his public declaration for the Tar Heels, Jackson spoke with Tar Heel Illustrated.
Jackson broke the news of his commitment on Twitter, but he actually told UNC head coach Roy Williams Sunday after the Florida State game.
"We finished watching the game (Sunday afternoon) and actually ate with Coach (Williams)," said Jackson. "I told him yesterday that I wanted to commit to him. I told him that I was coming but wanted to wait until I got back here and talked with the rest of my family before I announced it publicly."
Jackson's parents accompanied him on his weekend official visit to Chapel Hill, and they ate dinner a couple of times with Williams, as well as spending time with the current UNC players, taking in a Tar Heel practice on Saturday, and checking out the campus and Franklin Street.
Jackson informed us he was measured while at UNC and he said that he was 6-8 now and 185 pounds.
"If I keep on working and keep getting better, I feel like I will fit in well (at UNC)," he said.
"Obviously I need to keep working on my game and everything will come I think. But I feel I fit in really well at UNC and I'm very excited about it."
As for where UNC sees him playing?
"The two or the three," he said.
Making a commitment to one's chosen college is a life-changing moment for many top recruits, but Jackson says it doesn't change much for him except motivate him to work even harder for his arrival in Chapel Hill in the summer of 2014.
Coming off a state championship on the hardwood this winter, the Lone Star perimeter talent can concentrate now on just getting better as a player instead of the grind of recruiting.
"It really doesn't change anything for me, except now I have to work harder. I won't be as busy with phone calls, but everything else will be the same. Now I just have to put in the work and keep getting better," he said.
Jackson will again run with Houston Hoops this summer, where he'll compete on the EYBL circuit. It was there back in the spring and summer of 2011 that UNC first started recruiting the sleek combo guard/small forward.
"This is a big-time close for UNC," said THI basketball recruiting director Clint Jackson. "Roy Williams nurtured this relationship for a few years. And he looked it through all the way to the finish line."
UNC fans have been eagerly anticipating Jackson's pledge to the Tar Heels for a couple of weeks now, so the news doesn't come as a complete shock to a lot of people.
But Jackson's addition along with Orlando (Fla.) point guard Joel Berry, gives Carolina a fantastic one-two punch to start its 2014 class.
"I dont think this commitment comes as a surprise. Jackson and his family have always been high on UNC and this is a great cultural fit for both Jackson as well as the UNC team," Clinton Jackson said. "He told us that this latest visit was going to be more about getting the feel of the program, the staff and the guys on the team and I think he got to experience exactly what he wanted."
Jackson has been enamored with the UNC program for years, and was instantly interested in the Tar Heels when they first started showing interest in him.
Approximately two years later, that mutual interest has resulted in another solid addition to the Carolina program.
"Talking to (Coach Williams) more and more, I can just tell he's a good man and he does things the right way," said Jackson in a prior interview with THI. "Obviously Coach Williams, he's one of the best to ever coach. And then the assistant staff, it shows for themselves."