Memphis got some good news this afternoon, as starting point guard Joe Jackson announced that he would be returning to school for his senior season instead of entering his name into the NBA Draft.
Jackson was the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2013-2014 after averaging 13.6 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 44.7% from three. He led the Tigers to dual-CUSA titles while Memphis won their first NCAA tournament game in his career.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Memphis next season. Jackson was touted as the savior of the program, the next home-grown star to take the reins of the program. It hasn’t exactly played out that way, as the former top 15 recruit has had an up-and-down career, nearly transferring out of the program at one point.
(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)
Jackson will have one last chance to prove himself in 2013-2014, but it will be interesting to see just how good the Tigers end up being. Jackson returns, as does Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford. They’ll be joined in the back court by freshmen Rashawn Powell and Markel Crawford. That said, the bottleneck in the back court means that Antonio Barton will be transferring out of the program. He’s going to graduate and should be able to transfer without having to sit out.
The front court will suffer some attrition, as Adonis Thomas has gone pro, DJ Stephens graduated and Tarik Black has transferred, but Shaq Goodwin is still around. He’ll be joined up front by freshmen Austin Nichols, Kuran Iverson and Nick King.
So there is plenty of talent in this Memphis program.
But there has been plenty of talent in the Memphis program for years. That hasn’t been the issue.
Memphis hasn’t beaten a single top 25 team in Pastner’s tenure. They just won their first tournament game this season.
That’s not the legacy that Jackson wants in his hometown.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.