March 10, 2011

Kendall Jackson is “huge”

Kevin McCarthy

Big has many definitions. Tall is one, wide another and definitely effect, as in someone playing huge. Bishop O'Dowd (BOD) and Lakeshow junior backcourter Kendall Jackson misses the target for vertical and horizontal at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds but nails the bull's eye on the latter.

photo of Kendall Jackson

It's BOD teammate Brandon Ashley who played himself on to the national stage last summer and fellow frontcourter Richard Longrus is up there too. But Jackson is the operator of the vehicle, the one who performs in the role of coach on the floor. When the Dragons' roar is performing intermittently or more like that of a Bic lighter, it is incumbent on Jackson to stoke the fire by getting he and his teammates back to doing what they do best.

It's always been hoops for Jackson -- "I grew up on basketball" -- as his mother played the sport at Stanford. What's also interesting is the 'division of labor' within the family. "My Dad worked with me on the technical parts like dribbling and shooting and my Mom stressed the mental, how I needed to keep practicing to become good and to always go as hard as I can," he explained.

The family also stresses academics and Jackson currently owns a 3.76 grade point average. What also sets him apart from many West Coasters is his college preference, or more accurately, the geographic location. "I would prefer to go outside of California to try something different," he offered. But nothing is set in concrete and his eventual decision will be based on "education, playing style and the coach."

The young man sees his best skills as "dribbling and finding the open man" and continues to "work on his shooting and defense plus getting stronger since I'm always going up against bigger guards."

Jackson has witnessed how his approach has grown since his freshman season. "I've learned so much. I'm much more aggressive and understand the mental part of the game."

He's another player who, depending on the setting, enjoys different roles on the court. With BOD, "it's more running the team" while with his Lakeshow basketball club "I'm a bit more of a scorer than my high school role."

Lakeshow Coach Joe Fuca is excited about the upcoming season and a big part of that is having a returning point guard like Jackson. Here's Fuca on his protege: "Kendall is a terrific floor leader. He knows where and when to deliver the ball to the right players. He can really push the pace of a game and make the right decisions. Kendall can also score -- he hit a three-pointer for us last year against Play Hard Play Smart to push the game into overtime, where we eventually won with his leadership. Anytime a 16 plays up with the 17s and can consistently contribute to major wins against national talent, that is a great achievement. UC Davis, Santa Clara and Portland have all noticed how strong of a leader he is on the court and in the classroom. Kendall takes the classroom very seriously and it is an important part of his success."

You can argue about bouquet and complexity but KJackson's balance, silkiness and finish are solidly on display for all to intake.