By John "Woods" Armwood III
The Duke University commit Ashlon Jackson was born in Beaumont, Texas. However, she was raised and currently resides in China, Texas. The senior from Harding Jefferson High School started playing basketball at the age of three. Her family has a basketball background as she explains in great detail. Jackon’s older sister, Ke’brianna Malone, plays a huge factor in the reason we know the basketball phenom Jackson has become today. Like many of us, Jackson’s been inspired by her parents, as well. Both her sibling and father seem to pass down their passion and admiration for the game to Jackson.
Ashlon Jackson finding the happy medium
Ashlon Jackson has been dominant since she’s been young, in fact, she was the only three-year-old playing alongside the five and seven-year-olds. One can only assume, this greatness continued to follow along her journey. However, many people forget these young athletes are still children. Similar to Texas native, Gisella Maul, Jackson also admits she finds it very difficult to manage her social life while prioritizing basketball. She discusses her daily routine and emphasizes how rigorous her regiment can be.
“First thing first, I wake up at 6 A.M. and I go to the gym to put some shots up if we don’t have practice,” said Jackson. “ I then go through my regular school schedule, then have practice. At times, I may workout with my trainer after practice. After I go home and begin my homework for the day, sometimes I try to get ahead and do my homework two to three days ahead. Finally, I wash the whole day away with a shower and repeat the next day.”
While this schedule may seem pretty hectic for a high schooler, Jackson understands the sacrifice she’s had to make since elementary school to get where she is now. Jackson speaks about her peers having fun and going on vacations, while she remained in the gym on the weekends working and locked in on her craft. She loves the process, yet, she understands the balance between the two is extremely important.
Many may not know, but one of Jackson’s favorite activities to do outside of basketball is family bowling. The Jackson family takes tons of pride in their bowling abilities and at times can be a bit competitive. However, Jackson appreciates and enjoys the little moments she has away from the game with the people she loves and cares about.
Optimistic and exciting future for Jackson
According to ESPN, Jackson is ranked the 16th girl in the country. Believe it or not, she attempts to model her game after Maya Moore and Stephen Curry. This explains her range of shooting and crafty moves to the basket when presented with an opportunity. Therefore, the amount of preparation in the offseason Jackson takes to prepare for the season is crucial to her success. She begins every offseason with eating and drinking a strict diet, it may come to many as a surprise but she doesn’t touch the basketball much. Instead, she consists of her days with tons of cardio and lifting weights. She takes this time to not only fuel her body but also fuel her mental as well. Jackson likes to pray often to form a relationship with God, as well as, read for entertainment.
One would assume, this offseason regiment won’t change much as she begins to prepare to become a Blue Devil next season. Jackson will be joining forces with the ACC freshman of the year, Shayeann Day-Wilson. These two have the potential to be one of the youngest backcourts in the ACC and really cause damage. When asking about Wilson and Jackon’s game complementing each other, Jackson elaborated in great detail about her excitement to play with Wilson going forward.
“I am so excited to play alongside Shay,” emphasized Jackson. “She can facilitate and she can also run the floor. Don’t get me started about her ability to shoot the ball, but the best part is I do similar things. Meaning, whenever she’s choosing to lead the team in a certain way, I can understand and play off of her and vice versa.”
Not only is playing with Wilson exciting for Jackson but being coached by Duke head coach Kara Lawson excites her as well. According to click2houston.com, Jackson states: "Honestly, I love the coaching staff,” regarding her coaching staff at Harding Jefferson High. Naturally, Lawson had a huge factor in Jackson committing.
“It played a major part in my commitment,” said Jackson. “I met Kara at the USA 16-U tournament, and she delivered a speech that made me feel she was a God. Many don’t know but throughout my senior season, she helped me breakdown the film. Lawson means so much to me because she believed in me at times I didn’t believe in myself and that’s priceless.”
Jackson’s basketball legacy
Early last week, Jackson received the honor of becoming a McDonald’s All-American. This is a very prestigious honor in the high school basketball community because the award is so limited. Jackson’s dreamt of this award since a child, she stated. Jackson made vision boards about this is elementary and to have it become true was a surreal moment for her. When asked what did the award mean for her basketball legacy, she responded:
“This award was so big for me, seeing Kendrick Perkins announce reward and having the whole gym go crazy was surreal,” stated Jackson.
Ironically, while being in shock of the moment, she was not in shock of actually being gifted the reward. The hard work she puts in daily and behind the scenes resulted in exactly what anyone ever works so hard for. As a matter of fact, she described in great detail a moment that changed her life forever. She explained during the Addidas Championship, the game had to go through her in order for her team to have a shot at winning. Essentially, she played a very detailed-oriented game and had limited turnovers, and won the game with flying colors. At that moment, she said she knew one day she’d be great it was up to her for her to live up to her potential.
“Pressure is a privilege,” passionately stated Jackson. “Not everyone is built for it, not everyone is capable of holding that amount of pressure.”
Ashlon Jackson's life exceeds basketball
One would think, Jackson’s mission in life is to be the greatest basketball player ever, however, it’s not. She truly wants to be a great basketball player, but an even greater person. The game of basketball has brought her relationships with people for lifetimes. Ashlon enjoys and loves helping and interacting with people.
In fact, she hopes to study sports marketing and minor in accounting at Duke next fall. Her biggest goal once she reaches the epitome of her success is to help network with others who may not have the connections as other and put these individuals in rooms that will alter their lives and family lives forever.
In conclusion, Jackson offered amazing advice to any aspiring young athletes or anyone who fiend inspiration within her story.
“No matter what, always do what you love,” Jackson stated. “You are the only person who will lay inside that casket once it’s all said and done. Basketball is my peace and calling, it always is about finding your peace and happiness. From there and only there will you ever learn to experience and enjoy life.”