Catchin' up with Tiffany Jackson: Ten preseason questions with the All-American
As the Longhorns approach their season opener a week from today (against the Houston Jaquars in exhibition play on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in Austin), TexasSports.com caught up with All-America senior forward Tiffany Jackson. Jackson, a preseason National Player of the Year and All-America candidate and UT's leading scorer, rebounder and steals leader the last two years, took some time to talk to TexasSports.com about personal expectations for her senior year, her life after college, and all those small but important things that make her happy.
What are the three things you couldn't live without? Other than food and water, I don't think I could live without shopping and TV!
Last year was very tough and disappointing for your team. As a senior, what do you want to change this year and what are you expectations and goals? Yes, last year was really hard for us. We had a very young team full of great players, and we all worked hard to get it going, fight off the injuries, and to bounce back during the season. Somehow, we couldn't make it happen and the results slipped away.
This year I feel a lot different heading into the season. This is my senior year and I have a lot to bring to the table. I want to be a strong leader who will help my team reach its potential - and we have lots of potential! Also, I feel that we have all learned a lot after last season, so we are super-motivated to start on the right track this year. I am very excited and I have high expectations for myself, as well as our team. My personal goal is to be one of the very best players and contend for national player of the year honors. As important, I want to win the Big 12 title and reach the Final Four round at the NCAA Championships.
Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil, the most honored player in UT basketball history, is your new assistant coach. How is having a former Longhorn who was a six-time national Player of the Year and a USA Olympian, by your side? Coach Davis-Wrightsil is GREAT, and we all look up to her so much. She has so much character and I see her as my teacher. She is very involved and cares so much about the team. She is always there to remind us that every day we have the opportunity to do something new and to get a little better. She is a very positive person, but you can never get around easy with her because she will always say it as it is, good or bad! She keeps it real.
In practice, she demands a lot from us and pushes us to reach our best potential day in and day out. But, as hard as it gets, that makes us have so much respect for everything she does for us.
What's after the 2006-07 season for you, Tiffany -- the WNBA, playing in Europe, or a career in something other than sports? I will graduate this summer with a degree in ethnic studies, but I would definitely liketo play basketball for couple of years. My wish is to play in the WNBA for a while, and also play some time in Europe. Italy sounds really beautiful and fun, so hopefully I will end up playing there and enjoy some slower-pace European life. After basketball, I would like to come back to school and be a children's counselor.
When you are free from school commitments and from your intense workouts, what do you enjoy doing the most? You mean other than sleeping!?! Well, if I am not sleeping, then I am probably shopping. I love to go to the mall and shop, shop, shop!
I am a shoe and purse fanatic, so I go crazy on those things. Oh, and also I go crazy on getting little accessories like earrings, belts, and anything "decorative" to style myself up! Since my every day pretty much evolves around practice sweats and comfy sports clothes, whenever I have the chance I pretend like I am a "regular" college person who can wear non-athletic clothes.
What is your favorite color and why? I don't want to sound cliché, but my favorite color is pink. Yes, I am a pink lady and, as I said, I love to accessorize and be cute and feminine when I can.
What music plays on your iPod the most? What pumps you up? Whenever I go to practice or I am preparing for the game, I turn my iPod to Lil' Wayne, Young Joc, Young Dro, or Jay-Z and sing away! They really get me fired up and going, and I feel like I am going out for a boxing match, not a women's basketball game. I just feel unstoppable.
Do you have any pre-game rituals or little superstitious things that you have to do before you go and play? Actually, I am really not superstitious in the way that I have to do certain things before every game. Normally, before we run out on the court, I dance in the locker room and get all motivational and fired up. But, once we are out on the floor, I slow myself down and try to get really focused. The only thing I absolutely always do is that to pray during the national anthem.
OK, let's turn to another favorite topic -- food. What kind do you absolutely love, and what kind, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot eat? Oh, food is something I enjoy and eating truly makes me happy! I can't get enough of seafood - fish, lobsters, crabs, clams, you name it, and I'll eat it. On the other hand, Mexican food is something I have tried and tried to like, and for the lack of a better word, it's not for me. I can deal with nachos, but other than that, I don't eat it. That's not very Texan of me, is it?
You are a senior now and have been at Texas for three-and-a-half years. So far, what has been the one thing you have enjoyed the most, and what will you take from your experiences here? Texas is the best school and a great place to spend four years of your life. There are so many awesome things that I have enjoyed and that I will remember for life, but most of all, I will remember the family-like atmosphere, especially in our athletic department.
In traveling with basketball, we get to see different schools and talk to other student-athletes across the nation. The pride, the tradition, and the support that Texas has is something that is very hard to find elsewhere. And, I don't mean this only within my team; this is something that all Longhorn sports share with each other!
Also, whenever you hit the low point and you go through some hard times, there is always someone there to help you get up and feel better. Everyone is so close and cares a lot and you can have nothing but a fun and enriching experience as a student-athlete. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of something so great as this university.