By Tanner White
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography) & Kevin McInnis
It’s a known fact that when you put your effort into anything, you will become good at it. Welcome to Frank Jackson’s life.
Everyone knows Jackson for what he is right now, a McDonald’s All-American, a Duke commit and part of its No. 1 recruiting class, and a one-in-a-million athlete. His fame has far exceeded Utah Valley and, in the future, could quite possibly be known to every household in America.
But what people don’t know about Jackson is the hours upon hours spent preparing for what he was meant to become. His dream started at a young age.
“Watching Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Kobe,” Jackson said. “As a young kid, you want to be a professional athlete. Their athleticism and the way they play the game of basketball I look up to a lot.”
A major spike in Jackson’s ability came during his sophomore year.
“I was coming here (to Lone Peak) as a sophomore and I got my first offer,” Jackson said. “I was thinking that if I keep pushing, I could be one of the best players in the country. I think it was just after my freshman year that I said I can be better than this.”
It was at this time that Jackson started receiving national recognition and had his first scholarship offer to BYU, which he accepted. Although he would soon have a state championship under his belt, big things were yet to come for the young Knight.
As Jackson received more attention and attended more notable camps, his stock began to rise. Even though he had committed to BYU, more notable basketball schools came calling, specifically Duke and Coach Mike Krzyzewski. This led to Jackson’s de-commitment from BYU and later, his decision to sign a letter-of-intent to play at Duke.
“He (Coach K) just told me that ‘if you put your trust in me, I will get you to the next level,'” Jackson said. “That’s my ultimate goal. I know Coach K is one of the greatest coaches of all-time in any sport. He’s a national icon and knows what he’s doing and is super smart. Duke itself is one of the greatest basketball schools ever and, you know, to be part of that family is something you dream about as a kid. I couldn’t be happier with my decision and my relationship with the coaching staff and Coach K. I’m super excited.”
The Lone Peak guard has things to get out of the way first before he becomes a Blue Devil. His 28 points and 11 rebounds per game have the Knights surging towards yet another state championship. They have already proven to win on the big stage with tournament wins over top-ranked high school teams from outside the state, including a win on ESPN over St. Joseph (New Jersey), which has multiple Division 1 athletes on its team.
“I just want to have a consistent effort and I want to show my teammates that I love them and will do anything I can to win state, of course,” Jackson said. “And if we don’t, it will be devastating, but I want to get out of here with another state championship for sure.”
To reach the level that Jackson has, it takes a profound amount of gym time, which hasn’t always been the easiest of times. In fact, there was a time when he thought about ending his basketball career and beginning a baseball career.
“This past summer was…hard and not easy,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to put a lot of time and effort in it. I love basketball and it’s all I know but at the same time, it’s a grind. But I love it. It’s good. I’ve still got a lot of work to do.
“Baseball was my favorite sport. My dad thinks I’m better at baseball than basketball. I don’t know about that now, but I wanted to play professional baseball.”
Someone once said that purpose is the reason for your journey and passion is the fire that lights your way. Jackson is the definition of a man with a purpose.
You can see it in the tenacious way he plays. Whether he is dunking over 7-foot-4 centers or setting up his teammates for an assist, he is leaving behind a legacy at Lone Peak. This is a legacy that says you can work and dream to become what you want to be.
It’s a legacy that is using his skill to be “a good example” to Blue Devil followers and teammates. This is the legacy of a Lone Peak Knight legend.
Lone Peak High senior Tanner White wrote this story as part of the Preps Utah student journalism program, powered by Bank of American Fork, which will award two of our published student journalists college scholarships at the end of the school year.