It was about 18 months ago that Mike Young hopped in his car in Spartanburg, S.C., and headed out on a recruiting trip he believed would be essential toward success in a season that would turn out to be the greatest in his time at Wofford College.
That it required a seven-hour drive was not what made it unusual. The curious thing is, he was pursuing a player who’d been with the Terriers for three years, started 35 games in his career and averaged more than a dozen points per game in his most recent season.
Cameron Jackson’s home is in Winchester, Va., which meant Young had to drive across I-85 toward Charlotte, turning north on I-77 for a short before exiting onto I-81. It carried him across nearly the entire state, to the outskirts of a 275-year-old city that was the site of battles in the Civil War and the American revolution.
Young was ready to fight for Jackson, if necessary.
“He’s as big as a house, and he can score on anybody,” Young told Sporting News. Jackson had been injured as a sophomore and received a medical hardship waiver, which meant he eventually would graduate from Wofford with eligibility remaining. “With this ridiculous grad transfer rule, I sat down with him and said, ‘You’re going to have a lot of opportunities. …'
“And I’m going down that line for about three or five minutes and he stops me and he said, ‘Did you drive all the way up here to talk to me about this?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah. I mean, you’re pretty important to me.’ And he said, ‘Coach, there is no way in the world that I would ever consider leaving.’ And he never wavered.”