October 24, 2011

The Center of Attention in 2015







A majority of the class of 2015 is getting ready for their first high school basketball game. That has not stopped DePaul from making Tyler Jackson their center of attention in the 2015 class.

The 7-foot, 260-pound freshman is less than a month away from suiting up for Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, Ill. for the first time, but he and his family are already thinking about the next step. As one of the top local prospects because of his size and skill, Jackson has received plenty of interest from high major schools around the country.

Less than two weeks ago, Jackson had a weekend packed with visits to schools. He visited Georgetown for their Midnight Madness Oct. 14, took a trip the University of Illinois Oct. 15 and concluded the weekend Oct. 16 by visiting DePaul. Blue Demon Bulletin recently spoke to Tyler's father, Darrell, about the visit to DePaul and more.

"[Coming into the visit] he [Tyler] didn't have much of an impression of DePaul, but came away real excited about the program," Darrell said.

Tyler got the chance to view a practice, which he called "intense," meet with coaches and see the weight room.

"We were very impressed with the coaching staff," Darrell said. "Dr. Ron Bradley is a real bonus to the program, and made a great impression on [Tyler and I]."

Bradley has been the "leader" among DePaul coaches in the school's recruitment of Tyler according to Darrell. Bradley has been able to see Tyler workout individually and practice in the past.

Tyler and Darrell were able to have a sit-down with head coach Oliver Purnell during their visit. Darrell was impressed with staff's goals for the future.

"They [coaching staff] clearly have a plan," Darrell said. "It's going to take time, and they know the direction they have to go."

"Tyler came away feeling very connected to the program, and it's helping him in his workouts."

Along with DePaul, Georgetown, Illinois, Virginia and Marquette have been involved with Jackson in the past. This past weekend Providence got involved in Jackson's recruitment.

Darrell and Tyler are expected to visit Marquette on Friday. They have been able to see the campus plenty in the past because Tyler's sister is a student there.

According to Darrell, DePaul and Georgetown have been the most active recruiting Tyler.

"The fact that they have gotten out early in the process means a lot and will mean a lot," Darrell said.

DePaul has been near or at the bottom of the Big East the past four years, which could deter recruits from seriously considering them. DePaul should be improved steadily by 2015, but Tyler is not afraid of a challenge with a developing program nonetheless.

According to Darrell, Tyler could have went to more proven high school team such as Whitney Young, but chose Nazareth because of it being a better fit personally and academically among other reasons.

"We don't have any problems being with an up-and-coming program trying to make its mark," Darrell said.

While a college choice is likely a long way away, the Jackson's believe that academics and a sound program structure should be large factors in the decision process.

"Academics are real important," Darrell said. "Very pleased that DePaul and the other schools that are expressing interest are all good academic schools."

"Also, Tyler does very well with structured programs. He excels very much in those environments."

Tyler's success with a structured environment has enabled him to organize a workout routine to prepare him for the rigors of the upcoming basketball season and beyond.

During the off-season, Tyler spent six weeks with renowned Chicago trainer Tim Grover. There was an emphasis for Tyler to improve his core area and gluts to ease the pressure that basketball puts on a player's knees. That becomes especially important considering that Tyler has grown around 11 inches in the past three years.

Tyler is far from being a finished product as he continues to learn how to develop with his large frame. The skills that every college coach craves, though, make him a potential star in the middle.

He features an effective back-to-the-basket game that can be lost on many big men of this generation. He has the ability to hit turnaround jumpers out of the post, and can face up and hit a 15-foot jumper according to Darrell.

DePaul's interest in Jackson is another representation of their aggressive nature with the 2014 and 2015 local classes. DePaul has hosted numerous top local 2014 and 2015 prospects this month for general visits to campus and/or midnight madness. It is further proof of the staff's continued hard work and dedication to turning the program around.


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