When we decided on which Syracuse basketball players would grace the cover of Orange Tip-Off Magazine, it never even occurred to us to choose Rick Jackson. In retrospect, we are monsters, because the 2010-2011 season will likely be remembered as Rick's team.
While he's not going to be named Big East Player of the Year, he's almost a sure-thing to being named the league's top defensive player. Mr. Double-Double leads the league in rebounds (10.8), blocked shots (73) field goal percentage (59%) and, as you might as guessed, double-doubles (17).
The Orange have re-made themselves as a school for dominant big men in recent years and Jackson is a big part of that. Rick is the leader of a frontcourt that's become one of the most dominant and aggresive in the nation:
"It’s all timing," the 6-foot-9 senior said. "Lot of guys jump really high, but they can’t block shots. It’s about timing. You gotta stay patient. I can’t really tell you what it is. You just gotta have that feel for it."
Jackson is among similar basketball minds and strategies. The Orange these days sits atop the Big East in blocked shots, a perch perennially occupied by Connecticut. SU has swatted 106 shots in conference play this season. No. 2 UConn has rejected 75 attempts.
Not bad for "the other guy" in the Scoop Jardine recruitment.
He is on track to be SU's first Big East defender of the year since Etan Thomas in 2000 and, with a strong finish, could be the first Orange player to average 11 rebounds a game since Billy Owens in 1991.
If he keeps up his pace, Rick should end up around 9th all-time on the SU rebound list, right behind Billy Owens. On the scoring front, he should end up around No. 40 all-time, in the same ballpark as Ryan Blackwell.
Watch Rick do work here and get ready to watch him in the Dome one last time. It's been a fun ride to watch Rick grow on the court and become the team leader he is today. He leaves us as a very magazine-cover-worthy Orange.
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