ESPN Talks LDS Mission, Faith with One of the Best College Basketball Recruits in the Nation

Recently, ESPN featured LDS college basketball star Frank Jackson, sharing all about Mormon missions and how Jackson has decided to embark on a different kind of mission.

On Nov. 15, Frank Jackson will don his No. 15 jersey for Duke University, step on the court at Madison Square Garden—The World's Most Famous Arena—and take on Kansas in a nationally televised game between two preseason top-five teams.

The next day, Will Watanabe, Jackson's best friend, will board a flight to Tokyo, where he'll begin his mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Watanabe will spend two years in Japan, not even venturing home for a long weekend. 

Win or lose, Jackson will return to Durham immediately following that Kansas game, where he'll settle back in as one of the big men on campus. More than 34,000 fans will continue to track his moves on Instagram, while another 12,000 will read his 140-character messages on Twitter.

Watanabe said he won't be able to use Instagram, Twitter or any social media during his 24 months in Japan. He won't even have a smartphone. Instead, he'll share the one phone he has with his Mormon traveling companion, and they'll be able to use it only for LDS purposes. In fact, Watanabe can call home just twice a year—Christmas and Mother's Day—and will have access to email once a week.

Naturally, you can guess who is jealous of whom.

"I really wish I was going too,'' Jackson said.

► You'll also like: The Surprising Reason Steve Young Didn't Serve a Mission (and It Has Nothing to Do with Football)

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