Conference USA Player of the Year and starting point guard Joe Jackson will be returning to Memphis for his senior season, making the Tigers instant favorites to contend for the CUSA title next season. Jackson averaged 13.6 points and 4.8 assists last season, and led Memphis to their first NCAA tournament win of his career.
His career hasn’t always been full of championships and awards, however. The once top national recruit has had an up-and-down career in Memphis, and reportedly considered transferring from the school on multiple occasions.
Jackson was stripped of his starting point guard role after four games this season but battled back to his “McDonalds All-American” form. He led Memphis to a 16-0 season in league play and may finally be living up to the lofty expectations that surrounded him after high school.
It’s no real surprise Jackson is skipping the NBA Draft this season since he announced he intended to return to the program in November. Jackson will be joined in the backcourt by returning guards Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford, in addition to freshmen Rashawn Powell and Markel Crawford. Because of the influx of guards into the rotation over the last year, Antonio Barton will be transferring.
Jackson was once envisioned as the home-town hero savior of the Tigers’ program. He will have one last opportunity to cap his legacy in 2013-14 and lead Memphis to another CUSA title.
John Engel is a Pac-12 college basketball writer for Rant Sports and ESPNLA 710 AM radio in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.