After taking a look at North Dakota's best player Troy Huff, it's time to take a look at the star for Southern Utah, Jackson Stevenett. This is all part of learning about the new teams entering the Big Sky!
Jackson Stevenett (Southern Utah):
There is no doubt that Stevenett will be asked to shoulder a big load in his senior season, and he appears up to the task. With the Thunderbirds losing three starters, he will be key in their quest to remain competitive in their first season in the Big Sky.
Last year, he averaged 14.1 points and 5.7 rebounds, but that only tells part of the story. He did it efficiently and knows his game. He is 6'4'', but he is a bit of a hybrid between and a guard and forward. He is extremely efficient inside the arc, which is where he spends most of his time. He made 53% of his twos last year (and 55% the year before), and took over 90% of his shots there. Combined with a good percentage at the free throw line, and he had a true shooting percentage of 56.9%, which is very solid.
He is not a great three-point shooter, and so he doesn't take a lot of them. He took 27 last year (making 9), after taking just four in his first two seasons. This is a relatively easy concept to understand in theory - if you are not as good at shooting outside, don't shoot outside that much - but it is amazing how many guys don't follow it. Stevenett does.
He also posted solid rebounding rates of 14.9% defensively last year, playing on a team that had other decent rebounders. He can help the team even if he is not scoring a bunch. He can also be counted on to play a lot of minutes... he played 32.5 per game last year. That will be key on a team that might be searching for depth early on.
Stevenett is not a guy that will blow you away with his numbers, but he is a solid contributor that will be relied on heavily by the Thunderbirds in their first season in the Big Sky. He could be one of the top scorers in the Big Sky, and will likely earn some all-conference mentions.
Has anyone seen him play more than I have that can add to his resume?
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First of all, Jackson is a great kid who plays the game the right way. He is also somewhat underrated. As you pointed out, he is very efficient at what he does. He understands his limitation and definitely plays to his strengths. He has a knack of getting to the free throw line frequently. It’s difficult to guard him because he over power guards and takes them to the post where he does damage. Conversely, if you put a big on him he can break them down pretty easily. He doesn't look like an athlete but he will surprise you. He dunked on a few people last year. I think he was in the top 3 in the high jump in the state of Utah in high school. All in all, people really underestimate him and before you know it he is filling up the box score. Should be interesting to see how he performs in the Big Sky. After doing so well in the Summit League.ReplyDelete
Also, in terms of the starting five for Southern Utah, you will most likely see a lot of changes aside from Damon and Jackson. Wade and Chris will have a change to start along with Julian. The previous coach did not fully get the best from the talent that he had. So don’t be surprised of SUU finishes around the top half of the league. They have the element of surprise on their side.
By the way, you have a very informative site with great reads to break up the daily corporate hustle and bustle. Keep up the great work! I definitely enjoy the site.