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Jackson longs to be ‘a Penny Hardaway type’ for Memphis


Mike Miller


Mike Miller

Joe Jackson’s not bailing on his hometown team. Even if it would be easier on him. But he’s sticking with Memphis and is determined to make it work.

The 6-foot point guard put any rumors of transferring to rest when he told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that he hadn’t considered transferring, he “just had some personal issues off the court.” He’s frustrates and wants to do more – his summer with Team USA showed as much – but for some reason it’s not clicking yet.

What makes it all hard on Jackson is added pressure coming from people who’ve seen him thrive for years. He opened up to Jeff Goodman about that very issue:

“It’s hard,” Jackson said. “Everybody has an opinion around here and you can’t listen to everyone. It’s tough when you’re at home.”

Jackson met with Memphis coach Josh Pastner on Friday and was told to take a couple of days to contemplate whether he wanted to remain with the program and on the team.

“I love this city,” he said. “This was always a dream of mine to play for Memphis, be a Penny Hardaway type of guy. I want to be that person.”

Those expectations aren’t sky-high or anything. Pennys don’t come along often. He was a giant among Memphis players and a gifted player. Though Jackson’s got skills.

Jackson was a natural among the class of 2010 point guards. Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight? Neither had anything on Jackson. It’s not even his production – 11.9 points, 3.1 assists per game – that’s an issue, but how he’s doing it. His scoring efficiency is slightly up, but his assist-to-turnover ratio is still 1-1.

Jackson expects more out of himself. When that happens, he knows wins will follow. And that’s all he really cares about.

“My frustration isn’t about me coming off the bench or my personal game,” Jackson told Goodman. “I feel like I haven’t done anything to help the team get to the next level.”

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