There are more desirable tasks than replacing an all-time great player.
But that is exactly what the Arizona State men’s basketball team is counting on 6-foot-1, 200-pound point guard Marreon Jackson to do after program great Remy Martin transferred to Kansas.
Make no mistake, it will be mildly confusing, somewhat frustrating, and just downright weird to see Martin finish his career in colors that are not maroon and gold. But with Jackson, the team has another point guard that can energize a locker room and fill up a state sheet.
Jackson, the 2020-21 Mid-American Conference player of the year, is the best kind of replacement coach Bobby Hurley could have found.
He is experienced having played 126 games at Toledo. He can score from all levels, he rebounds exceptionally well for a guard, and this is how he describes his game, “I’m just a dog. Plain and simple.” That is the kind of guy you want captaining your offense.
And if things go according to Hurley’s plan, Sun Devil fans will smile in remembrance, wish Martin the best, and then settle in to watch Jackson eviscerate Pac-12 defenses all season long.
Marreon Jackson (@marreon_jackson) is ready to take it to another level for Arizona State next season.— Frankie Vision (@Frankie_Vision) June 9, 2021
According to ESPN he was the 10th best player in the transfer portal. He finished First Team All-MAC and was the MAC POY averaging 18 PTS, 6.1 REB & 5.9 AST. pic.twitter.com/jY6WvaP1p1
Last season while still with Toledo, Jackson averaged 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists, with shooting splits of 40.3/34.8/90.4. By comparison, here are Martin’s 2020-21 numbers: 19.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists on 43.3/34.6/77.6.
Of course, competition level must be factored in, and the MAC is certainly not the Pac-12. With that said, 90.4% from the free-throw line translates no matter if you’re playing in the NBA or the YMCA.
If there is a weakness in Jackson’s game, it is his turnover rate. Three turnovers a game isn’t alarming, (Cade Cunningham is projected to go No. 1 in the NBA Draft averaging more than four), but it is below the 50 percentile for NCAA point guards.
Maybe Hurley will address that, but if he coaches Jackson the same way he coached Martin, it is unlikely. The Sun Devils run an aggressive, drive-and-kick offensive style that lends itself to errant passes.
Jackson is a volume shooter from beyond the arc, 59% of his shots came from out there last season, and the Sun Devils are expecting more of the same this year. More likely than not, many games will be won or lost depending on whether Jackson is knocking down his threes.
This Sun Devil team will look very foreign at first glance when they take the court in Atlantis this November. But with Jackson at the reigns, the program knows they have a talented point guard with the necessary experience to lead them to success in 2021-22.