If Rick Jackson needed some extra motivation for the Big East & NCAA Tournaments, he's got it courtesy of the coaches he'll be going up against.
In a stunning vote, the Big East Conference coaches left Syracuse's Rick Jackson off the league's six-player first-team.
However, the Big East coaches selected six perimeter players to the all-league first-team. The team includes Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough, Connecticut's Kemba Walker, Providence's Marshon Brooks, Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs, St. John's Dwight Hardy and Georgetown's Austin Freeman.
Jackson's fault, it seems, is being an inside player. When this six-player team takes on the All-Conference teams from other leagues, they're going to have some serious rebounding issues.
Cuse Country's Josh doesn't have a problem with the Big East allowing coaches to pick outside traditional positions, but finds it hard to believe RJ could have been so low on the list:
I did the math*, and it is theoretically possible that Rick got as many as 12 first-team votes. It’s more likely that he got 11 or 10. We know Boeheim can’t vote for Rick, but this leaves at a bare minimum three coaches, and more plausibly four or five, who didn’t think it was necessary to recognize the obvious top interior player in the conference with a spot on the all-conference team. Who didn’t think to themselves "Hmm, maybe I should at least put one big guy on there. I know we have a ton of dynamic guards in this league, but being a high-scoring guard is not the only way to be a great player. I should recognize Jackson too: he’s the league’s best post player, interior scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker."
F those guys. Jim Boeheim puts Rick Jackson's career into perspective:
"I think Ricky (Jackson) is a great example of a guy that comes in and gets better each year and continues to improve. I think he’s the best inside player in the league this year. He’s led the league in rebounding, field goal percentage, and blocked shots. I think he has had a tremendous year, a tremendous career really. He’s just been getting better. He gives you everything he’s got, every game. He doesn’t ever come up short. He’s always doing what he does. There’s a lot to be said for that. He never takes a game off, ever, never has."
"I think he’s the best inside player in the league this year,’’ Boeheim said. "He’s just had a tremendous year. He’s had a tremendous career really.’’