Jackson a Huge Addition for Texas Tech

Texas Tech legacy Jordan Jackson made it official Wednesday by signing his Letter of Intent to play for the Red Raiders.

With Jordan Jackson, Tubby Smith gets an athletic two guard who elevates very quickly and finishes with authority, but perhaps most important, he gets a player with tremendous bloodlines. Jackson, as just about everybody knows, is the son of the greatest basketball player in Texas Tech history, and possibly the best player in the history of women’s basketball, Sheryl Swoopes.

Both Jackson’s Tech ties and his basketball pedigree are significant. Regarding the former, Jackson’s mother, Sheryl Swoopes, is an iconic figure in Texas Tech sports. A native of Brownfield, Texas, about 35 miles southwest of Lubbock, Swoopes initially signed with the University of Texas, but quickly transferred to South Plains College, and then to Texas Tech. She was a dominant player from the word go at the D1 level, and in her senior season, led the Lady Raiders to a national championship. After her Tech career, Swoopes was a member of the USA’s gold medal-winning team in the 1996 Olympiad, and enjoyed a glorious career in the WNBA where she was a three-time league MVP.

From the standpoint of reputation, it is no minor thing that Jordan Jackson signed to play at Texas Tech rather than elsewhere. The first syllable in legacy is leg, and the legacy tie should certainly give the related program a leg up in recruiting an alumnus’ son or daughter. Failure to successfully recruit a legacy player, despite this advantage, can tarnish a program’s reputation. But the fact that Tubby Smith and his staff took care of business with Jackson speaks well not only for their recruiting ability, but also for their understanding of the larger picture.

Jackson’s bloodlines are also significant, and could ultimately result in Tech getting a player who is better than his current press clippings—not that those are unimpressive, by the way. The truth of the matter is that extremely athletic parents frequently pass on their talents to their children.

A classic case in point is the football player Thomas Howard, Jr. Howard, whose father was an All American linebacker for Texas Tech in 1976 and had a very good NFL career, was not recruited by Tech and walked on at UTEP. After a solid collegiate career, the Oakland Raiders selected Howard in the second round of the draft. Howard enjoyed an eight-year stint in the NFL before dying in a traffic accident on November 18, 2013.

Howard, Jr. was a late bloomer whose innate ability eventually came to the fore and produced a player who was wildly superior to his high school reputation. It would not be extraordinary if something similar occurred with Jordan Jackson.

But that is admittedly speculative. Here are some things we do know.

Jackson stands 6-foot-3 and checks in at a slender 175 pounds. As a junior he was a first team all-stater for Houston St. Pius X in Texas’ private school ranks. During that season, Jackson averaged 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

Jackson received offers from Houston, Tulsa, Louisiana Tech, Rice, The Citadel, Bowling Green, North Texas and Rider, among other schools. ESPN currently rates Jackson the No. 52 shooting guard in the nation and the No. 22 player in the state of Texas.

The number 22 is significant. It is the number his mother wore while at Tech, the number he currently wears, and it is 22 years since his mother’s senior year as a Lady Raider. It almost seems as though Destiny is playing a role.

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