One of Utah's most accurate shooters, Marc Jackson has averaged just under five points a game off the bench.
Jan. 9, 2003
By Marcus Malmberg
Sports Information Student Assistant
Marc Jackson's journey in the basketball world has become a story of success for a hometown kid. Jackson is a 6-1 guard for the Runnin' Utes, with a strong upside to his game. He can play at both the point and shooting guard positions, and saw significant playing time as a freshman for the Utes. This year, Jackson will be a team leader and significant piece of the puzzle as Utah tries to reclaim Mountain West Conference supremacy.
Jackson returns to the Utes this season after coming back early from an LDS Church mission. When the Utes didn't have a scholarship available last fall, he joined the team at Utah Valley State College. With his return to the Huntsman Center, Utah regains a highly recruited in-state prospect with a year of experience in the program.
While at Olympus High School, Jackson received 4A MVP recognition from the Salt Lake Tribune and Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Deseret News in 1999-2000. In December of 1999, Jackson scored 51 points against prep-rival Skyline, which ended up being the highest single-game point total in the state for the year.
"The game against Skyline just came to me. It seemed like everything happened so easily," comments Jackson. "That was probably my most memorable game." In addition to the 51 points, Jackson also dished out seven assists.
Deciding to come to Utah was a tough decision for Jackson, who was also recruited by in-state foe Brigham Young. "Everything about Utah was great, it is close to my family and offers a great education. Utah is also consistently a top school," comments Jackson.
Following his stay at UVSC Jackson decided to come back to Utah despite being recruited by Oregon State and New Mexico. "The main thing that got me back was the players. I had become such good friends with Britton (Johnsen), Nick (Jacobson) and Trace (Caton). That was a big reason I returned here," adds Jackson.
At Utah, Jackson has changed his game to fit his altered role. "[Marc] has undergone a transformation from a stellar high school scorer to a sharing-the-ball point guard," says Head Coach Rick Majerus. Jackson's duty with the Utes has become one where he spreads the ball around, and playing tough defense has become a top priority under Coach Majerus.
"It's kind of hard going from high school where I would shoot 20 times a game to college where I only shoot three to four times per game. I have just had to accept my role and do my best to fit the system," states Jackson.
Growing up watching basketball, Jackson has tried to model his game after NBA star Jason Kidd. "When Kidd was at California, I would watch him a lot. I liked how he played. He was a fast-paced player and had incredible quickness," notes Jackson.
Off the court, things couldn't be better for the Ute as he recently got engaged. He and his fiancÚ Brooke will be married in April. Jackson also admits the niceness of having all of his family living in Utah. "I have a great family and they support me in everything I do," says Jackson. "Brooke is my main joy. She has helped me find my own life outside of basketball."
Some of Marc's favorite things to do when he is away from the game include spending time with Brooke, of course, vacationing, swimming, biking and other outdoor recreational activities.
The 2002-03 season has gotten off to a slow start for Jackson due to an ankle sprain. As a result, he's missed four of the first 12 games and has been forced to limit his minutes. However, even with the bad ankle he contributed a career highs of 10 points and four rebounds in 22 minutes at Pepperdine. He then came back three nights later with nine points at San Diego, helping Utah sweep a critical nonconference trip on the West Coast. Jackson is looking forward to the role he will play as the season progresses. "As a team, we think we can win the conference. It is also a goal to win the conference tournament in the same year as well," states Jackson.
In asking Jackson before the season which game he would circle on the schedule, it probably shouldn't have been a surprise to see him pass over the popular choice of nationally-ranked Alabama or some of the conference battles that have grown in importance in recent years. "I am looking forward to the BYU game," said Jackson. "It is an in-state rivalry and being an in-state kid recruited by both teams, that╣s the game I'm looking forward to most. It is always nice to do your best against the teams that didn╣t get you just to show them what they are missing."
As Jackson's ankle continues to heal, the sophomore guard is optimistic he will be playing his best basketball of the season, as will the rest of this young but maturing Utah team, when the conference season gets underway in mid-January.