Basketball Spotlight: C.J. Jackson

It’s a great thing, man (to be playing basketball). Being without it for a year, definitely I realized how much I really do love it and being able to have the opportunity to come back over and be a part of the Illinois basketball team is a great thing.”

(Playing with the football team last year) was amazing. It was one of the most fantastic year we’ve had here … So it was a joy to be with them and enjoy it. And even though I’m not with the team anymore, I feel like I’m part of the team still. I cheer for them every Saturday. I’m there talking to the guys just as much. It was a great year.

I missed it. I always grew up loving basketball, and it’s just always been what’s in my heart. Actually, being away from it made me miss it more than actually being with it.

So I think it was a really good revival for me that, ‘Hey, you really do love basketball, and it’s time to have some fun with it.’

Being a tight end, offensive line, I had to throw on a lot of weight. Basketball, it’s been a continuous process to get back in shape. I’m just trying to get that weight back off and get back in basketball shape has been a challenge. It’s continuous.

I’m not in the shape I want to be right now. I continue to do extra things every day to get back there. And when I do get there, I hope I can contribute as much as I can to the team.

I expect whatever coach gives me. If I work hard and earn it, then I deserve it. I’m still going trying to work hard, even if I don’t (get playing time) to be a good practice player. Whatever he calls me to be, I’ll do it.

It’s kind of fun throwing everybody around a little bit. I think I have everybody by a solid 50 pounds or something like that. So it’s been fun throwing a couple elbows, toughening up in the air because the Big Ten is big man basketball. So I feel like the more I beat up on them, the easier it will come when Big Ten time.

Favorite

Movie: “300”

Food: Mom’s lasagna

Athlete: cousin and Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem

Musical artist: Ne-Yo

Quick hits

Position: Power forward

Hometown: Buena Vista, Ga.

High school: Tri-County

Recruiting rank: Not ranked, three stars

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 267 pounds

Movie: “300”

Food: Mom’s lasagna

Athlete: cousin and Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem

Musical artist: Ne-Yo