By Greg DeVries
Not very many people knew who Pierre Jackson was when he first arrived on campus.
After earning a starting spot and pulling through in the clutch, Jackson has made a name for himself. Students are starting to recognize him despite his stature.
“They do [recognize me] a little bit. They notice me from my tattoos because I’m still average height,” Jackson said.
“Average” is awfully generous considering he spends a lot of his time around people who are near 7 feet tall. Jackson is listed as 5 feet 10 inches and is the smallest player on the team. But Jackson has not let this hinder his basketball career.
Before Jackson signed to play at Baylor, he led the College of Southern Idaho to two straight National Junior College Athletic Association Division I national championships.
“Pierre, as with most junior college players, [took] about a semester just to adapt to the defensive schemes and the help side, and the scouting that goes in at this level,” head coach Scott Drew said. “At that point you can not worry about thinking the game but you can play and it seems natural to you rather than trying to run certain offenses or defenses.”
Jackson adapted to Big 12 play smoothly. Earlier this month, he was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week after averaging 15 points, three rebounds and 4.5 assists while helping Baylor beat Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Jackson was also named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, an honor given to the nation’s best point guard.
“[I wanted to] just come in and try to be a big part of the team. I know they were losing another guard from last year. [I wanted to] just come in and fill that void,” Jackson said.
Jackson wasn’t just a player Baylor wanted. With guards graduating, the Bears needed to recruit a point guard.
“I made sure when we were recruiting him that I really had a big impact on him. I knew we were going to be lacking in the back court,” senior Quincy Acy said. “A.J. [Walton] was the only remaining point guard, so we definitely needed another point guard. When I saw him at open gym I was like, ‘We’ve got to get him.’”
Jackson sets his goals around the success of the team.
With the Big 12 tournament beginning on March 7, the Bears look to perform at a high level throughout their trip to Kansas City, Mo.
“I honestly think we can win it all. We’ve just got to stick together and play as a team. When adversity hits, we’ve got to hit it back and capitalize on little things,” Jackson said.
A much bigger goal for the Bears is to open some eyes during March Madness.
Jackson may have played in the NJCAA tournament, but he has never been on a stage as big as the NCAA Tournament.
“I just know I’ve been waiting for this my whole life and I’ve been watching it on TV all the time. I just know it’s going to be really big,” Jackson said. “We’re going to have a lot of tension, but we have had a lot of exposure this year, so I think we can go out there and make it pretty far in the tournament. I think we can win it all.”
Jackson ranks 15th in the Big 12 in points per game with 12.7, third in assists per game with 5.73 and second in steals per game with 1.7.