Guard Zay Jackson was a player many expected to eventually help the Murray State basketball program account for the graduation of prolific point guard Isaiah Canaan. After playing 18.4 minutes per game as a freshman, the 2012-13 season was supposed to represent one more season of playing alongside Canaan while having a larger role in Steve Prohm’s system.
But then the September 2012 incident, in which Jackson hit two bystanders with his car in a Walmart parking lot, occurred. For the crime Jackson would spend 49 days in jail, with Murray State making the decision to reinstate him during the offseason. That new beginning turned into a nightmare for Jackson however, as he suffered a torn ACL and LCL in early October that ruled him out for the entire 2013-14 season.
On Wednesday the school announced that Jackson has decided to transfer at the end of the current semester.
“I want to thank Coach Prohm for giving me an opportunity to play basketball at Murray State, and for his support during my time as a Racer,” Jackson said. “With my injury causing me to miss a second season now, I just believe a fresh start would be good for me.”
Prior to the knee injury Jackson was expected to be the Racers’ best player this season, and even after his season came to an end there was the belief that Jackson would be able to help his teammates from the sidelines. But apparently it all proved to be too much for Jackson, resulting in his decision to transfer in hopes of getting a fresh start.
Zay Jackson’s return to the court this season lasted all of four days.
The sophomore guard tore the ACL and the LCL in his right knee in practice on Saturday after coming down awkwardly following a dunk. He is scheduled to have surgery in a couple of weeks, once the swelling in his knee goes down.
“He was our best offensive and defensive player,” head coach Steve Prohm said. “But what he can do is he can help the younger guys, he can teach the younger guys. He can be kind of like an assistant coach, he’s got a great IQ , and great feel for the game. Big things are in store for him, he’ll do a great job helping build these guys up, he’ll travel with us, he’ll be apart of our team one-hundred percent.”
Jackson sat out all of last season after an ugly off-the-court incident in which he tried to run down a man with his car in a Walmart parking lot. Jackson and the man had had a verbal disagreement, and after Jackson had gotten into his car, he drove into the man and continued for several hundred feet with the man on his hood. You can watch the wild video here.
Jackson spent 49 days in jail as a result, but he was set to return to the team and play a major role in replacing Isaiah Canaan this season.
Murray State has suspended guard Zay Jackson for the entire 2012-13 season after he pleaded guilty to second degree wanton endangerment charges.
The charges stemmed from an incident that took place in a Wal-Mart parking lot where Jackson hit two pedestrians with his vehicle.
“I care a great deal about Zay and am committed to seeing that he gets the help that he needs,” Murray State head coach Steve Prohm said in a statement Wednesday. “What he did was wrong and I want to apologize to everyone that has been negatively affected and embarrassed by his actions. It’s not representative of our program and the impact we try to make in the community each year.”
Jackson was expected to be a contributor for the Racers this season after averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 assists per game last season, but his absence now leaves a void in the backcourt alongside star Isaiah Canaan.
“Although the impact on our basketball team is something we’ll have to work hard to overcome, I support the direction we are taking with this matter,” Prohm said. “I know we have a good group of young men that will work hard to represent Murray State the right way this season.”
Murray State opens its season on Nov. 9 against Brescia.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_