Tray Jackson still remembers the moment he realized his Seton Hall Pirates had an away game scheduled with the Michigan Wolverines.
“My eyes lit up,” Jackson recalled Tuesday on the ‘Defend the Block’ podcast. “I knew that I had to have a good game.”
Jackson, at the time a junior with Seton Hall, did just that. The Detroit native grew up idolizing the Maize and Blue, infatuated with players like Caris LeVert and Charles Matthews. On Nov. 16, 2021, Jackson’s friends and family dotted the Crisler Center crowd with blue Seton Hall gear. Sure enough, Jackson delivered one of his best collegiate performances: 13 points and 6 rebounds to steer the Pirates to a monumental upset of then-No. 4 Michigan.
“I got my first shot up — it was a three ball — and it went down,” Jackson remembered. “It was a huge relief. I was like, ‘Man, if I could do it here, I could do it anywhere.”
Sure enough, in an entertaining twist of fate, Jackson is once again readying to lace up on the Crisler Center floor. This time, though, he’ll do so donning Michigan threads as an integral component of the Wolverines’ 2023-24 roster.
“It means everything,” Jackson said. “Growing up, I’ve always been a fan of the Michigan Wolverines. Always wanted to come here. Having a chance to play in front of family and friends, it’s just a dream come true, honestly.”