Her family’s rich history with the club was the key ingredient that has allowed the Big V and NBL1 dribbler to connect with basketball deeper than most.
Since the age of six, Jackson was taking rebounds in the heart of Frankston. “My whole basketball journey has been at Frankston,” Jackson said. “I started playing in their domestic competition on Saturday’s when I was six and then made a Blues team in October of 2008.”
“I actually played with a lot of the same girls during my junior career that I play with today.”
Jackson’s success with Frankston was inevitable with her mother Marita and father John having already laid the groundwork for the Jackson name in their own time as Blues.
Marita Jackson played over 200 games for Frankston in SEABL (now NBL1) until she fell pregnant and took up the position of team manager while a little Tori Jackson was growing within. “My dad played way back when the club was known as that ‘Frankston Bears’ and both mum and dad played during the merging of Chelsea and Frankston to become the ‘Bayside Blues,’
“They continued to play for the Frankston Blues right up to a CBL/SEABL level,
“I’m so grateful that when I wanted to start basketball that mum and dad started me at Frankston as it’s such a great family club and not many people can say they played at the same club and level as their parents.”
Over a decade since her first game of basketball in the Blues colours, Jackson progression through the pathways on offer at Frankston tell a story of pure commitment for perfection. “I played my first Big V Youth League game as a fill in and then made my SEABL debut under Mikey Brookens, who now is head coach of the Championship Women’s Bulleen team.”
After Jackson aged out of Under-18’s at Frankston, there was no Youth League team to join. The decision was made to be part of the Under-20’s team while also stepping up to the SEABL.
Moving into 2018, Tori Jackson became double the trouble, competing in both NBL1 and Big V competitions. Now, she could not imagine having it any other way.
“I prepare the same for any basketball game I’m playing, whether that be Big V or NBL1, and just go out and try to play my role in each team to the best of my ability,
“We are lucky to have such an amazing group of women across both senior teams and because we train together a lot.”
For Jackson, her priority league cannot be differentiated. “The Big V competition is such an important league for young basketballers,
“Youth League is a place where I can take what I learn from the leadership group in NBL1 and use it to inspire and encourage the young people coming through.
“It is such a great pathway to have to go from juniors, into youth league and the league has really helped with my confidence and ability to lead,
“I love the fact that you get to play with such a broad range of aged players and the competition has provided me with some of my closest friends that I am forever grateful.”
With two brothers in Frankston’s Youth League Men’s side and Under-18’s, Jackson really couldn’t be any more surrounded by family in her sport.
“Like any siblings, we are competitive and like to make anything a competition,” Jackson said. “Whether that is who had the most points, rebounds, steals; literally anything.
“This season is the first year where one of my brothers has been a part of the Youth League squad so it’s nice to see his hard-work paying off, especially coming off two ankle reconstructions in 2019.
“We are really lucky to have such supportive parents who have put so much time and money into our basketball,
“Mum has team managed for all of us at some stage in our junior career and she will still offer to drive me to most away Big V and NBL1 games. She loves coming to watch.”
2021 sees Jackson and her Youth League One Women’s side currently sit fourth on the ladder with three wins and two losses.
“This is going to be a bit of a different season for us,” she explained. “We are young, but we like to compete,
“We are currently three and two which is not exactly where we wanted to be at this point in the season, but that just means we need to work harder and strive to get better throughout the season.
“The aim is probably the same as every team, make finals and ultimately win so we can move up to Championship Women,
“I think we can do it, but it is not going to come easy because Youth League One is a very even, competitive league, so I’m predicting lots of close games and exciting wins for our team.”
One thing her team has going for them this season is their comradery that extends the Big V court.
“We are a very young team with lots of girls under 18 so we like to remind them that they are still ‘children’ and that they need us to drive them places,
“The lovely Annabel Fitter really carries the team in the banter department with just about everyone on the team and is a very loud human who will tell you how it is, but we love it!
“The wonderful Elle Schonfelder cops it a bit too as her older sister plays in the team. They are known as ‘Little Schony’ and ‘Big Schony’ (nicknames obviously made up by Annabel).”
Tori Jackson is only at the start of what is set to be an illustrious career to follow that of her family that has played before her.
“I would like to play at the highest level I can and to end up as a leader in an NBL1 team would be a dream.
“I want to be someone who can encourage the young players coming through and provide knowledge like a lot of the WNBL players I play with provide to me.”
THE BIG V FAST FIVE
Tori Jackson had to answer these five questions as fast as he could. How did he go?
Go to post match snack? Pasta is ALWAYS a winner after a game
Current song on repeat? The Carlton Theme Song
Best dad joke? Why did the jellybean want to go to school? Because he wanted to be a smartie.
Netflix choice? Behind Hey Eyes
Finish the sentence – nothing is better than…. vegemite toast in the morning