Kimani Jackson Hits the Hardcourt

Kimani Jackson Hits the Hardcourt

Kimani Jackson patiently waited to be cleared to play his senior season at Seguin High School in Arlington, Texas, after his family moved from the Dallas suburb of Plano.

The Louisiana basketball signee will be in the national spotlight when Seguin (11-2) plays Dallas Kimball (2-4) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in a game that will air live on ESPNU from Grand Prairie, Texas.

Seguin, coached by former Cajun player Robert Thigpen, is the top-ranked Class 4A team in Texas. Jackson, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward, is one of three Division I signees for the Cougars along with senior forwards Brandon Parrish (TCU) and Greg Wesley (North Texas).

Kimball is the two-time defending Class 4A state champion in Texas and ranked No. 11 in the state. The Knights, who have three losses to teams ranked in the state top 20 of their respective classifications, is led by five-star senior guard Keith Frazier. They beat Class 5A power Duncanville, 65-51, last Friday.

"Getting to play on ESPN is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so I'm just taking in the moment," Jackson said. "I'm going to play to the best of my abilities, help my team get the win and try to put the Cajuns on the map."

Rated the state's No. 88 recruit in TexasHoops.com's Class of 2013 rankings, Jackson missed the season's first three games after transferring from Plano West High School before being cleared by the University Interscholastic League. In 10 games this season Jackson leads Seguin in rebounding (7.3 per game) and blocked shots (1.2 per game).

Jackson is also averaging 6.9 points with Parrish and Wesley handling most of the scoring. Seguin also has senior guards Marcus Frazier and Cris Boleware, both of whom are rated among the state's top 65 recruits by various recruiting organizations.

"He's playing really well and doing a lot of rebounding for us," Thigpen said of Jackson. "We have other guys who can score, but he has shown he can score if we get it to him. We're trying to get him more involved and see how he fits in and can score for us. Right now he is our best rebounder and has been a force inside."

Jackson's top all-around effort came in a Nov. 29 win over Bryan High School when he had 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. The Michigan native also has grabbed nine rebounds in four other games and scored 10 points twice this season.

"It's always nice to get back out there and play the sport you love," Jackson said. "I'm glad I'm finally back out there and playing with this team and happy to help us win games. It's definitely a good feeling."

Last season Jackson helped Plano West High School to a 26-9 record and a second-place finish in District 8-5A behind eventual Class 5A state champion Flower Mound Marcus. He averaged 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds while playing behind college-bound senior forwards Holt Harmon (Cornell) and T.J. Cline (Niagara).

As a freshman he averaged 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals at Bendle High in Michigan before chipping in eight rebounds and five points per game during his sophomore season at nearby Goodrich High.

Jackson is off to a strong start at Seguin this year, and Thigpen expects Jackson to be a quality inside-outside forward for the Cajuns when he joins the program next season. Wichita State, New Mexico State, South Alabama and North Texas attempted to recruit Jackson after he committed to the Cajuns in October, but he stuck with his pledge and signed with the Sun Belt program in November.

"I'm trying to get him ready for college," said Thigpen, who played for the Cajuns from 1988-92. "He can still get stronger and more agile and more athletic. He's got a chance to be pretty good. We just need to get him a bit more consistent."

(Follow me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com#!/JoshuaParrott)

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