Joe Jackson, SR, G
Weight: 174 lbs
Birth Date: February 8, 1992
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Last Season Stats: 13.6 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.3 RPG and 1.7 SPG
Say what you will about him but, statistically, the senior is going to go down as one of the greatest players to ever put on the Memphis Tigers uniform. Since signing with the Tigers and stepping onto campus in 2010, Jackson has started in 82 games and played in a total of 105 games.
In three seasons with Memphis and head coach Josh Pastner, Jackson has received several accolades, which include becoming the first player in C-USA history to win the C-USA Tournament MVP two years in a row and being named the C-USA Player of the Year as a junior. Had it not been for teammate Chris Crawford‘s masterful performance in last year’s tournament, Jackson would’ve won it a third time. He also joined elite status in the career 1,000-point club.
Despite all of this, there are still critics. They were in much larger numbers during his first two seasons, but after a stellar junior campaign, many were silenced. Some believe Jackson should have accomplished more as a former five-star recruit. It’s hard to carry enormous expectations from the people of your own hometown and while Jackson took some time to evolve, he’s become the best player and unquestioned leader for the Tigers.
He’ll instantly be one of the best players in the AAC and expectations run high for his final bow.
It’s hard to put on paper just how much Jackson improved from his sophomore to junior year. To put it simply, he took his game to a whole new level, improving in just about every category, including points per game (+2.6), assists (+0.9), rebounds (+1.2), steals (+0.5), field goal percentage (+0.1) and three-point percentage (+0.15).
Jackson could be in for a big year in his final season. He has the most talented group of players around him that he’s had in his whole career. The one stat could take a little dip is his PPG. That wouldn’t be because his game went south, but because Memphis is loaded with guys that can score the ball. He still should end up being the leading scorer, though.
If his PPG was the one thing that went down, his APG could be one of the best in the country. Jackson is a great passer and utilizes his ability to get into the lane to not only score, but also find open teammates for easy buckets. With the plethora of scorers around him, Jackson could easily average up to six APG.
His importance to this team can’t be overstated. The Tigers go as Jackson does. He’s one of the best in the nation at getting into the lane and making plays. He’s had his fair share of ups and downs, but he’s had a historic career in the blue and gray and will be a huge factor in how far Memphis goes this year.