One of the highest profile players in attendance, Rick Jackson had just a solid showing at the PIT, mostly affirming the strengths and weaknesses he's shown over the course of his career. He measured out very well, coming in at 6'8.5 without shoes with a solid 7'1 wingspan.
A good rebounder in college, Jackson didn't especially stand out in that department here. He pulled in a solid 8.0 rebounds in 26 minutes per game, but his own numbers weren't helped any by sharing a frontcourt with Old Dominion's Frank Hassell, who led the entire tournament in rebounding by a wide margin. Looking to the NBA, Jackson's work on the boards is still his best selling point, but it's worth noting on a per-minute pace-adjusted basis, he was outrebounded by over 20 players in our database this past season.
Looking at the rest of Jackson's game, he does the majority of his work operating with his back-to-the-basket, having a simple repertoire of turnaround jumpers and hook shots that he usually doesn't have much trouble getting off. He finished inconsistently here, and was very inefficient in this area in college, scoring just 0.82 points per shot in back-to-the-basket situations according to Synergy. Looking to the next level where he'd frequently be facing bigger, more athletic opponents, it's hard to see this area of his game translating well.
Where Jackson is at his best is with most of the little things, crashing the offensive glass, finishing off the ball, setting picks, and making passes in the flow of the offense. He's a smart player with good awareness that has developed into more of a hustler as his career has gone on. A strong player with solid hands, Jackson rarely showed problems finishing in traffic in the lane at the college level, though may show more problems in the NBA where he won't stand out athletically.
Defensively, Jackson has most of the same issues other players do coming out of Syracuse's zone, though he posted solid helpside numbers with his 2.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game, a testament to his activity level. There are certainly questions about how he will deal with perimeter 4's or bruising 5's at the next level given his physical limitations, but he can make up for it somewhat with hustle and smart play.
Looking forward, Jackson brings a solid, well-rounded game to the table, but may not stand out enough with one exceptional skill to find a role in the NBA initially. His work ethic, learning curve, and overall approach to the game are pluses, and it also helps that he'd have to be considered one of the most well-conditioned bigs in the draft considering he averaged more minutes per game than any other big man in our database this past season. He should have a chance to get drafted towards the end of the second round and make a team's roster as a high-energy body, but will likely need to continue developing to find a long-term niche.