Flying under the radar as a sophomore playing for a solid but unspectacular Boston College Team that struggled in ACC play, Reggie Jackson has been pretty impressive through the Eagles' first six games this season. Leading his team in scoring, assists, and steals in the early going, Jackson appears to have blossomed in his third season in Chestnut Hill under first year Head Coach Steve Donahue. Known for his athleticism in his high school days, Jackson's ability to pick and choose his spots and play with poise have been keys to his success this season and could plant him on the NBA radar if he continues to improve his playmaking ability and all-around game.
Much of Jackson's development since last season can be attributed to the way he utilizes his athleticism. Standing 6'3 with a giant wingspan, but an underdeveloped frame, Jackson has excellent size for a point guard, and while he does a lot of scoring at the college level, he has the makings of a potential floor general on the NBA level if he improves his ability to orchestrate an offense. He took a big step towards that end by learning how to play at different speeds, something that he didn't do effectively last season. That change has allowed him to cut down on his mistakes considerably, yielding his impressive 2.9 assists-to-turnover ratio. Slowing the game down and using his excellent quickness to exploit seams within the flow of the offense instead of using it to force action, Jackson has looked terrific in the open floor and in most half court situations early this season.
Though Jackson has been producing at a high-level as a passer and a scorer in the early going, he still has plenty of room to grow to become a legitimate point guard. The Colorado native shows great court vision, is not one to miss an open teammate to take his own shot, and has become extremely adept and scoring and passing in pick and roll situations, but spends a considerable amount of time off the ball where Steve Donahue can best exploit his scoring ability and give his team a dynamic athlete on the wing to complement Joe Trapani's shot-up shooting and off-ball scoring ability.
Though Jackson looks good handling pressure and has developed into a very solid ball-handler, he isn't relied upon exclusively to run Donahue's offense as a facilitator or bring the ball up the floor regularly. While the pieces of the puzzle certainly seem to be there for the talented junior, the development of his draft stock will be influenced heavily by his ability to continue to improve his playmaking skills.
Though Jackson's point guard skills will be important to his pro prospect, his improved jump shooting has been the biggest part of his impressive play this season. A reliable threat to pull-up off the dribble in the past, Jackson has improved his shot selection considerably this season, taking far fewer off-balance shots and sticking to his mechanics with a hand in his face. Though Jackson has a long release that he quickens at times under pressure, he has been much more efficient in catch and shoot situations. His 37% shooting from three-point range is a major improvement from the sub-30% mark he posted last season, even if he still needs to continue shoring up his footwork and consistency.
Around the basket, Jackson proves to be a capable finisher, but forces an occasional shot from a tough angle, needs to improve his ability to finish with his left hand, and could stand to get stronger to handle the contact he'll deal with at the next level. A somewhat flashy, but highly functional ball-handler who will surprise with his leaping ability when given space, Jackson has no trouble getting to the rim off the dribble at the NCAA level. This season, he's seeing considerably more touches running the pick and roll and receiving hand offs than he did last year, giving him a bit more room to operate in the lane.
Defensively, Jackson is able to use his wingspan and lateral quickness to force some turnovers, and he rebounds the ball well for a guard, but tends to find himself out of position and has a hard time getting over screens. His activity level has improved under Steve Donahue, and many of his current defensive weaknesses are correctable, but it will be important for him to improve his fundamentals to overcome his lack of elite lateral quickness to facilitate his transition to the next level. Getting stronger should also help. As his frame develops, Jackson has the size and length to potentially guard both backcourt positions at the pro level, which definitely helps his long-term outlook.
A player who has come a long way since his high school days, Reggie Jackson has clearly benefitted from Steve Donahue's presence at BC. While he's had strong performances against Texas A&M, Wisconsin, and Cal, it will be worth keeping an eye on how he plays in ACC competition. If Jackson continues to score and distribute the ball with efficiency, adds weight to his frame, and becomes a more consistent shooter, he will surely draw attention from NBA decision-makers down the road.