August 27, 2013

Jackson is coming on

Kevin McCarthy

When you lead a team such as the Lakeshow Black 17s in scoring during July's Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament, well, that calls for recognition. Grant Jackson, also of Monte Vista High, did just that and it personified the development he demonstrated during the spring and summer.

photo of Grant Jackson

Not necessarily the biggest at 6-foot-1, Jackson is just a solid basketball player. He can shoot, handle, finish and defend as well as seemingly make, not just attempt, the right play at the right time. His ability to change speeds and enter the paint is also above par. He is a really good athlete -- speed, quickness, jumping ability plus a very explosive first step.

For someone who didn't earn East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) honors in March, Jackson's spring and summer progression was noticeable: “I came on more with my game. It was a confidence thing finally knowing what I could do. I've become more of a complete player.” This from someone who offered his freshman description as “more of a spot-up shooter.”

Lakeshow Coach Brent Jameson is a big Jackson fan. “Grant is a very humble young man, who is a terrific teammate and a lot of fun to coach. He is a fierce competitor on the court with a strong desire to win. He is very coachable, taking on whatever role to help his team be successful. Grant played a combo guard for us, which I envision him playing at the next level. His strength and athleticism give him the ability to defend positions one-three. Offensively, he is a very tough matchup. One college coach that followed us closely in July commented that they didn't see a defender all summer who could keep him from getting into the paint. When Grant gets into the paint, he is a very efficient scorer who does an excellent job of getting to the free throw line, where he shoots 90%. An area where he has improved tremendously over the summer is the ability to set teammates up once he gets into the key. This added threat makes him a more complete player. He also rebounds the ball well from the guard position.”

“Grant's recruiting has recently picked up, with several DII's expressing interest,” Jameson continued. “Currently, UCSD and Cal State East Bay have shown the most interest. Chico has also been in contact.”

Jameson finished with, “He's poised to have a really good senior year on a very good high school team, so expect more schools to take notice. Grant is definitely a student first (3.66 grade point average) and he is looking for the right fit academically. He's a kid who really “gets it” and I really can't say enough good things about him as a person and a player.”

Jackson modestly identifies his strengths as “creating for my teammates and my mid-range jumper.”

What's interesting is the dual roles he is asked to play, depending on his team. “I'm primarily a point guard with my high school team but with Lakeshow I split play as a combo guard.”

He is another who has left the diamond behind. Exclusively turning to basketball four years ago, he dropped baseball because “it was too slow.”

The Mustangs finished an overall 20-7 last season, 11-3 in the EBAL, a conference where always tough De La Salle (DLS) resides as the proverbial elephant-in-the-living-room.

“I think this will be a big year for us -- we have a lot of the core pieces,” Jackson said.

Coach Nick Jones returns high-scoring Trevor John as well as fellow backcourter Rishi Satoor, plus 6-foot-9 Spencer Rust.

The Mustangs took down DLS 49-40 on the road last season so any invincibility cloak has been removed.