Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tory Jackson

Tory Jackson- 5-11 / 193, Saginaw, MI-
To understand the 2006-07 Notre Dame basketball season, one must look no further than Tory Jackson. At the beginning of the year, Jackson was a relative unknown. While talented and highly recruited out of high school, he stayed out of the spotlight in the beginning of the season behind starting point guard Kyle McAlarney. However, with McAlarney suspended, Jackson and the Irish burst onto the national stage with an 11-5 Big East record and return to the NCAA tournament. Simply put, Jackson was Notre Dame's season last year. Without him, the Irish would have had absolutely no chance of breaking their string of NIT appearances.
Tory started 20 of 32 games last year, including the entire conference slate. He averaged 7.8 points and 4.3 assists in 27.8 minutes per game. His assist average rose to six in McAlarney's absence. In Notre Dame's Big East Tournament loss to Georgetown, Jackson singlehandedly kept the Irish competitive and took the team to the verge of a championship game appearance. His point guard play down the stretch was some of the best by any point guard in the country. Yes, folks, he was a freshman. Kid grows up fast.
At the beginning of the year, Jackson struggled with a lack of communication with his teammates. Many no-look and behind the back passes hit wide open Notre Dame players in the chest, but bounced away resulted in turnovers. By the end of the season, those passes resulted in easy baskets for the Irish out of seemingly impossible situations. He will continue that development this season as Notre Dame's floor general. This year, however, McAlarney is back in the mix and will force opposing defenses to focus on two point guards, giving Jackson more freedom.
While his passing and ballhandling skills are some of the best Notre Dame has had in recent memory, his outside shot needs work. If he can be able to make defenses worry about his shot as well as his dribbling, Jackson will become a serious scoring threat. Until then, his passing, defense, and leadership capabilities will make him one of the best sophomores in the conference, if not the country.


Bryan said...

Welcome back...

How can a team ranked 17th in the country be picked to finished 9th in it's own conference? Ridiculous...

Huge expectations this year...and you know what Brey does with huge expectations...

BlackandGreen said...

I know, we've seen teams like this come up before. Check Tom Noie's quote on the '05 debacle:

Though Thomas' vision of 30 win grandeur is probably far fetched for any Notre Dame team to expect, his lack of leadership skills shone through as he failed to deliver even an NCAA birth, much less a trip to the Final Four.

Hopefully the leaders on this team will focus more on results on the court instead of starry-eyed predictions off it. And yes, Coach Brey must deliver this season to prove he can coach to the ability of the squad, instead of perennially over or underachieving.

I'll take 9th as long as it comes before the season and not after. We don't need respect, just results.