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Junior Guard Joe Jackson is King of Memphis Tigers

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It is the first day of 2013. One player that deserved to bring in the New Year in celebratory fashion is Memphis Tigers junior guard Joe Jackson.

The scene for the young man was quite different in December of last season. It was filled with gloom and doom. He was struggling on the court. He was struggling with his decision to play college basketball at Memphis. He even considered transferring.

The mental and emotional aspect of college basketball was forcing Jackson to take a step down as the self-titled “King of Memphis” to Prince.

It was a road of growth he had to travel. Some highly talented, highly recruited players have to take that route. Some can’t handle it.

Jackson is a Memphis (TN) native. Memphis is considered the home of grit and grind. Jackson did just that. He fought through the frustrations. He put in the extra work. Now it’s paying off.

In his last game, he scored 22 points and had seven assists. He went 5 of 6 from the floor, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range. Jackson is leading the team in scoring while shooting 53.7 percent and 50 percent from three point range.

“He’s playing well. He’s at an extremely high level. The only thing I can say (to Jackson) is get more defensive rebounds,” Josh Pastner said to the Commercial Appeal. “Other than that he’s been really good.”

Jackson’s stats are great but his maturity is even more impressive. He struggled at the Battle for Atlantis. However, instead of digging into a deeper hole of doubt, despair and negativity, he has flourished.

Patosha Jeffery is the Memphis Tigers Featured Columnist at Rant Sports. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @patoshajeffery and add her Google + to your circles for all of her latest articles and thoughts.