Be sure to read our other throwback thursday pieces on Josh Pace, Kueth Duany, Andy Rautins, James Southerland, Dion Waiters, Otis Hill and Dave Bing.
Lucious "Luke" Jackson came to Syracuse in 1991 from Beaumont, Texas, itself roughly the same size as Syracuse in terms of population. Jackson didn't turn to basketball until age 11, but basketball was always in his blood as his father, Luke Jackson, played multiple seasons in the NBA and won the 1967 NBA Finals with the Philadelphia 76ers. He came in as part of a talented Syracuse Orange freshman class that featured Anthony Harris, Glenn Sekunda and the eventual all-time leading scorer in the Big East, Lawrence Moten.
While Harris transferred due to his academic struggles as a freshman and Sekunda transferred to Penn State after his sophomore year, Jackson stuck around with Moten and continued to work himself into a good player. In his sophomore year, Jackson would play a key role off the bench for Syracuse as the team's sixth man.
As a junior, Jackson turned himself into a starter and averaged double-figures in scoring while shooting 45.6% from the floor. He helped lead the team to the 1994 Sweet 16 before falling to No. 1 seed Missouri in overtime.
Jackson would continue to improve in his senior season and would prove to be the team's best defender. In each of his seasons in orange & blue, Syracuse won at least 20 games. Jackson was able to play in his home state for his final NCAA Tournament as a senior. After dropping 22 points in Syracuse's first round win as a No. 7 seed, Boeheim joked...
"Lukie likes the air down here. We should have played down here more often."
Jackson's career at Syracuse would take a disheartening end against Arkansas in the 1995 round of 32. Jackson picked off a pass from the defending National Champions with under 7 seconds to play, seemingly sealing a victory for the Orangemen, who were up by 1. Without any timeouts left, Moten signaled for a timeout that ultimately led to a technical and Arkansas' Scotty Thurman knocked down one-of-two free throws to send the game into overtime. Syracuse would lose in overtime and Arkansas would carry their momentum all the way to the championship game before falling to UCLA.
If you'd like to relive that nightmare, see below.