Throughout the month of March and into early April, MaxPreps.com will highlight 10 high school seniors sure to make a splash in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
No. 4 Joe Jackson
6-0 / 160 / Guard
White Station (Memphis, Tenn.)
Headed to: Memphis
2009-10 season: Around Memphis, Jackson’s popularity is on par with that of players suiting up for the NBA’s Grizzlies or college basketball’s Tigers. That’s not hyperbole – he’s a flat-out rock star in the River City. He emerged as one of the area’s best scorers as a freshman and has been filling high school gymnasiums since.
As a senior, Jackson poured in 32.3 points per night while leading White Station to its third-straight Class AAA state championship game. The Spartans fell short in the final after winning it all a year ago.
The future Memphis Tiger earned swooped up every player of the year honor in the state of Tennessee and finished with 3,451 points in his career – the fourth-best total in state history.
Jackson’s size, scoring ability, quickness and speed elicit comparisons to Allen Iverson. It’s not off-base. The skill sets are similar and so are the challenges that come along with harnessing his talent.
There isn’t much question about Jackson’s ability to continue scoring in bunches at the next level – it’s his ability to do it within a team concept that should make things interesting at the University of Memphis next season. While he has contributed to successful programs in high school and AAU ball, he won’t be able to put the Tigers on his back night after night the way he did at White Station.
Jackson’s desire to put the ball in the basket is so strong that he doesn’t feel like he is doing his part if he isn’t delivering 20-plus points per night. How that plays out in a crowded Memphis backcourt next year is anybody’s guess. One thing is for certain – it should be entertaining.
10 to watch for 2011 countdown:
No. 10 Cory Joseph
No. 9 Perry Jones
No. 8 Tristan Thompson
No. 7 Will Barton
No. 6 Tobias Harris
No. 5 Kyrie Irving