Jordan Jackson: Cross Up
This year’s boys’ basketball team is on fire this season. After taking down Terra Linda, Justin Siena, Marin Catholic, and Redwood, they have begun their season as a top three-team in the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL). Senior and Redwood transfer Jordan Jackson has emerged as a key contributor to the Hawks’ success this season.
Jackson’s arrival had an immediate impact on the team, creating high expectations for the boys and crazy turnouts to each home game. So far the team has delivered. The Hawks are currently in a close race for first place, but for Jackson, that is not the end goal. As a former All-League honors recipient, Jackson has his eyes on two things. “I want to make All-League,” said Jackson. “For the team, I want to get an MCAL championship.”
Coming off an impressive season as one of Redwood’s premier guards, Jackson knows what it takes to succeed in MCALs. According to Jackson, the focal point for this season should be trust, and playing as a single unit. “We all have to buy in to what to the coaches are coaching us,” Jackson said. “We all have to trust one another on the court, come together as one.”
One thing that sets Tam apart from Jackson’s Redwood experience, and has contributed to most of this season’s success, is the instant chemistry that he found with his teammates. “[Tam] is much more of a family,” he said. “I feel a lot closer to the team, even being with them for [only] one year, than I felt at Redwood…I like the chemistry.”
Coming into this season, there was plenty of hype surrounding Jackson, and if he would live up to the high expectations this season. Some may call it pressure, but for Jackson, this was nothing new. “I’m pretty used to it by now. I don’t really think of it as pressure, I see it more as people excited to see what I can do out there on the court,” he said. “It impacted my game positively because I want to play up to all the hype, so it pushes me to work for it and gives me something to work for.”
Jackson’s attacking style has proved to have been the missing piece in the offense, as his arrival this season has opened up the long range abilities of the rest of the team. “Anytime you get a player as talented as Jordan, your whole team dynamic will change a lot,” junior guard Jack Duboff said. “He is one of the best in the league at attacking the rim and finishing. This spaces out the floor and makes [defenders] have to help which opens up [three pointers] for our shooters.”
Senior guard and team captain Jacob Moeller agrees. “He’s another guy that opposing defenses have to pay attention to,” he said. “[That] leads to our other shooters getting open shots…He’s great at getting to the rim and making plays for his teammates.”
Aside from his play on the court, Jackson has contributed to the team’s success with his leadership. “[I try] to be really vocal and make sure I get everyone going, and if I see someone hanging their head, I’ll try to pick them up and tell them ‘move onto the next play,’” he said. “Basically, [I try] to just keep everybody positive and keep everybody going.”
His leadership has had a positive effect on his teammates. “He brings a ton of energy in games and practices which rubs off on the team,” Duboff said. “He’s very supportive to everyone and tries to bring people up when they are down on themselves for making a mistake.”
Moeller confirmed Jackson’s leadership. “[His] energy and effort has made [him] a leader on the court and a player the rest of the guys look up to,” he said.
Jackson also leads by example. “He has gained a ton of respect from our team because of how hard he works outside of practice and in practice,” Duboff said. “This just makes some guys look up to him and model the way they play after Jordan.”
Jackson’s leadership, paired with his skills on the court and his great teammates that surround him, place Tam amongst the top teams in MCAL this season. “His fire, when combined with a positive attitude and ability to put mistakes behind him, makes him a force to be reckoned with and a huge addition to the Tam program,” Moeller said.