Jackson adjusts to new court, college life

Just like other freshmen on campus, Joselyn Jackson has made the move from home to college and is adjusting to all the changes that come with it.

But as a member of the Lady Rattler basketball team, she’s about to make another big step into college basketball.

Jackson was born and raised in Marietta, Ga., a suburb on the northwestern edge of Atlanta. Her father had been a basketball player since college and according to her, “It’s kind of in the genes.”

Jackson says even as a child, she always carried a basketball around. At age 6, she joined a city league and has had a love for basketball ever since. She played with her local Amateur Athletic Union team and on school teams.

As a player at McEachern High in Marietta, she helped claim the 5A regional championship four years in a row.

When it came time to consider colleges, she said FAMU was high on her list. She had other offers, but after her visit to FAMU in the spring, she said there was no other choice for her.

Over the summer, she followed the Rattlers’ practice plan and this August packed up and made the move.

Jackson admitted the transition from the familiarities of home to an independent college life was tough one at first.

“In the beginning, I was kind of homesick. But right now, I’m so busy I don’t have time to be.”

She credits Head Coach Debra Clark for her support.

“She always has time for players,” Jackson said. “We have individual meetings where if we need to talk to her, we can talk to her about anything. She’s really caring.”

The camaraderie of the team has given her a circle of friends. It also helps that she shares an apartment with five of her teammates.

“It’s nice because I was an only child, so it’s like having sisters,” Jackson said.

One of her roommates/teammates is Jainaba Phillips of St. Petersburg. The 18-year-old biology student, who is also a freshman, said they all click well. Phillips said when it’s time to help cook dinner, Jackson will help out, provided the meal is chicken and she has her tool of choice.

“The George Foreman Grill is her thing,” Phillips said “She cooks chicken very nicely.”

Jackson was quick to remind Phillips that she also specializes in cornbread and blueberry muffins. “She’s a wonderful person,” Phillips said. “We have a great time. She’s great.”

Jackson is majoring in health science, and plans to study physical therapy after she earns her bachelor’s degree. She said she is very interested in the field, and even if she were offered a professional career in basketball, she would stick with physical therapy.

Jackson knows the college game is a step up from the high school level, but she is ready to meet the challenge with the help of Clark.

“She respects us,” Jackson said. “She gives us time to learn things. She’s not always on you for not knowing. She knows we’re freshman.”

In the preseason, Jackson pulled her quadriceps and had to sit out two weeks. But she has fully recovered, and according to coach John Clark, is fulfilling expectations.

“You know as a freshman, you come in here and don’t know what to expect. She came in here and made the adjustment real well. She got hurt early in the preseason training, but now she’s back 100 percent and doing everything that is expected of a freshman,” John Clark said.

Jackson’s parents said they are going to try to make it to all the games, including the away games. If her parents can’t make it, she’ll still have the family she has made of her teammates and coaches.

With her first opportunity to play college basketball looming, Jackson said she feels she is prepared. She knows her opponents will be bigger and faster, but she is adapting. “I believe if we all play together and work on the things we need to, we can be No. 1.”

Contact Mckenzie Tuberville at thfamuansports@hotmail.com.