The Baylor men’s basketball team, currently 17-1, is off to their best start in program history. While Scott Drew‘s club features two potential NBA lottery picks in Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller, a new addition to the team may serve as a greater catalyst. Back-court issues tempered Baylor’s chances for greatness this season. It is now evident that the Bears’ guard-play can compete with any program in the country, courtesy of one junior college transfer. Without further interruption, it’s my pleasure to introduce Pierre Jackson.
Long before erupting on the national scene this year as a premiere lead guard, Jackson was a relatively unknown student-athlete attending Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas. The electric guard’s recruitment was nonexistent entering his senior year. With a lack of interest from Division I programs, the 5-10 Jackson received constant doubt from those who didn’t believe he would make it to the next level. Unfortunately for those individuals, Jackson used that disbelief as motivation. While the non-believers served as Jackson’s motivation, his grandmother was his inspiration. The woman who took care of Jackson and his sister since birth has a very special place in the talented ballplayer’s heart.
The drive to prove doubters wrong began during Jackson’s senior year. The court-savvy guard scored 763 points that season while leading the state of Nevada with 263 assists. The remarkable play earned Jackson first-team and all-state honors. This would serve as the beginning, as the high-flying athlete continued to strive for his goal of playing on the D-I level.
After performing brilliantly at Desert Pines, Jackson found himself at the College of Southern Idaho the following year, a JUCO in Twin Falls, Idaho. Jackson suffered an elbow injury during preseason play of his freshman year, and while being sidelined was not in his plans, the result was undoubtedly positive. Known as a lethal scorer, Jackson was forced to abandon the score-first mentality, unable to shoot from great distance due to the injury. The result, a more all-around player on the floor. Jackson was a factor once back in action. In 2009-10, he averaged 7.8 points per game while leading the Golden Eagles in assists and steals with 4.6 and 1.8, respectively.
Following a superb freshman season, the dazzling ball-handler took his game to a new level during his sophomore campaign. Jackson poured in 18.6 points and 4.4 assists per contest, leading the Golden Eagles to the 2011 NJCAA Division I national title. Jackson was named NJCAA Division I Player of the Year. With a championship and numerous accolades under his belt, there was only one more matter of business to take care of. On April 11, 2011, Jackson fulfilled one of his lifetime goals and signed his national letter of intent to a Division I school.
The recruitment for Jackson sky-rocketed following an outstanding showing in the national tournament. Schools such as Creighton, UNLV, Oklahoma, Tennessee, San Diego State and Baylor sought after the high-commodity JUCO player. In the end, Jackson chose to take his talents to Waco.
The Baylor Bears seemed like a perfect fit, as Jackson would say, “I couldn’t pass up playing with possibly two lottery picks in Quincy Miller and Perry Jones and the beast himself, Quincy Acy!” The lack of depth at the guard spot was another indication that Jackson should head to Texas. “The backcourt was being questioned a lot so I figured I could help ’cause I have a lot of confidence in my game due to the hard work (I’ve put in) and everything I’ve been through.”
While at CSI, the former Desert Pines standout was able to play alongside an array of gifted players while learning from a group of excellent coaches. Each has helped Jackson become the player he is today. The relentless competitor believes his leadership qualities and defensive abilities have elevated since stepping onto the D-I level. A fierce defender, the tough guard takes pride in shutting down an opposing ball-handler.
It didn’t take Jackson long to settle in to his new surroundings. In only his third game donning a Baylor uniform, Jackson would give fans a preview of what’s to come for the next two years. Against an accomplished San Diego State team, the junior would go for nine points, four rebounds and seven assists in 25 minutes of play off the bench in a Baylor win. The energetic play as the team’s sixth man would continue. Jackson proved to be the main catalyst in win’s over highly-acclaimed teams, West Virginia, BYU and Mississippi State. Eight straight points in regulation and overtime would take down the Mountaineers, the effort to block a three-point attempt ended the Cougars’ chances, and a game-winning layup sealed the victory against the Bulldogs. Jackson’s incredible play has been crucial to the Bears’ success thus far in the season.