By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Head coach Steve Payne continues to add depth and skill to the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team, adding his fifth signee to the Golden Eagles' most recent recruiting class in the form of junior college transfer Charles Jackson.
A center from one of the top JUCO programs in the country at the College of Southern Idaho, Jackson joins an already deep group of signees that include incoming freshmen Savonte Frazier, Josh Bougher, and Aleksa Jugovic, as well as fellow transfer Torrance Rowe.
"Charles is a long, active athlete," Payne said. "He's been listed as tall as six-foot-ten, but he has a wingspan of a seven-footer. He got hurt early in the season last year and wasn't able to go until mid January. But he had some good games when he finally got back, despite never really being able to getting on track physically.
"He's played for one of the best junior college programs in the country for one of the best coaches in the country in Jeremy Cox at the College of Southern Idaho," Payne continued. "We are really excited about what he brings to the table. He's a California kid and a little bit like Dwan [Caldwell] in that he's a late developer. He was six-foot-four when he graduated high school and grew six inches in his first year out. He was the leading rebounder in the state of California as a freshman before transferring to the College of Southern Idaho.
"We're happy to have him," Payne added. "I think he'll fit in well here. He's a high-character guy and I believe he'll be a great teammate. He has a good family background. Charles just fits the profile of the kind of guys we want, with his personality, and we're really excited at what he can bring to the table."
6-10 – 240 – Center – Sacramento, Calif. – College of Southern Idaho
Despite being limited to just under 18 minutes per game in 16 contests, Jackson still managed to average nearly six rebounds and six points. A native of Sacramento, Calif., the big man recorded two double-doubles while at the College of Southern Idaho. He also shot 56.5 percent from the field. Jackson was a three-sport athlete in high school, before blooming into his nearly six-foot-10 frame as a freshman at Lassen College.
Jackson on why he chose Tech:
The coaching staff was just perfect for me. I knew this is a group of guys I want to work with. The team was really cool too. They definitely want to win and I wanted to go somewhere where I can help make that happen. I loved the atmosphere of the school as a whole and this will be a great place to get me on the right path academically.
Jackson on the city of Cookeville:
The campus and city of Cookeville were really nice. I've never been that far east before, so I got to see a lot of things I've never seen. I loved all the green with the hills and trees. Cookeville isn't very big, but I really like it. It's beautiful there.
Jackson on what he brings to the table:
I feel like I can bring a lot of energy both on and off the court. I am a good defender and I will try to fit in anywhere the team needs me. I'm competitor. I want to win. I believe in myself as a scorer, defender, and rebounder and I know I can do what it takes to make an impact.
Final thoughts from Jackson:
I just can't wait to play competitive basketball again. Not being able to play at 100 percent last year was hard. I'm just glad to be able to go come somewhere that I am wanted and needed.
College of Southern Idado head coach Jeremy Cox on Jackson:
Charles broke his leg the very first week with us and that put him out for the entire fall and it hurt us as a team a little bit. We were counting on him in the center position. We thought he had great upside.
His attitude remained positive, though. He became a very big part of team, even sitting on the sideline until January. He wasn't as strong or conditioned as he possibly could be, but he gave us a great effort.
I think his talent level, length, and strength are fantastic. I think with a healthy Charles Jackson we could have competed for a national championship, but unfortunately that was not the case.
I think Steve [Payne] is getting a tremendous player and more importantly he's getting an outstanding person. He's a great kid. In 23 years I don't know that I've coached a more selfless and kind player that cares more about people, his teammates, and his school than Charles Jackson.