Senior guard Joe Jackson is on a mission this upcoming season. This will be his last curtain call as a Memphis Tiger. He can’t hold back now as the entire basketball universe will be watching him and his teammates play in a new conference. This should be an exciting year for all of the seniors as they will play together for one more season. For Jackson, it’s a must that he goes out as a champion and compete for a national championship.
When Jackson arrived at Memphis in 2010, many people had high hopes for him. He was ranked as the No. 21 recruit in ESPN’s top 100 prospects. With him being ranked in the top 25, that was saying something about the talent that comes out of Memphis. Jackson didn’t start living up to the hype around him until his junior season, where he averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists a game. He also shot over 50 percent from the field. With his efforts on the offensive end, it earned him Conference USA Player of the Year honors. This was a big accomplishment for Jackson due to the fact that people were bashing about how he would not make it to the NBA. Jackson had to get his peers out of the way and listen to the coaching staff in order to have a great season. Once he did that, he produced on the court.
Jackson could possibly be remembered as one of the best Tigers’ of all-time. He’s currently 24th on Memphis all-time scoring list with 1,209 points and eighth in assists with 413. If he can repeat last season’s performance, which I think he will do, he could finish higher than where he’s at now. He could finish sixth in scoring and fourth in assists. Also he could join Elliot Perry as the second player to record more than 1,500 points, 550 assists, and 175 steals. Jackson currently has 137 career steals over the course of his career.
The difference maker for this year’s Memphis squad will be the leadership. When Pastner first got the job as head coach, he didn’t have any upperclassmen. He had to go with the 2010 recruiting class that featured Jackson, Tarik Black, and Chris Crawford. Those guys had to be leaders and it was a struggle for them at first. Now, the team has Jackson, Crawford, Geron Johnson, and Michael Dixon. The seniors will have to be leaders if this team wants to compete for a championship.
Jackson is a good guard. He has came along way since his freshman year. He’s more focused than ever and Pastner should be proud of Jackson. With the chip on his shoulder of people saying he’s not tall or skilled enough to make it in the NBA, he will have to prove them wrong. Do not be surprise if Jackson is a candidate for the Naismith and AAC (American Athletic Conference) Player of the Year Award. He’s skilled enough to do pull it off. I believe in Jackson; it’s just up to him to go out there and kick ass in his last year as a Memphis Tiger.