Syracuse Basketball: Rick Jackson Is the Most Underrated Player in the Big East

Mike MuellerContributor IIMarch 9, 2011

Rick Jackson leads the Big East in rebounds, field goal percentage and blocked shots
Rick Jackson leads the Big East in rebounds, field goal percentage and blocked shotsJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

I’m going to make this short and sweet: Rick Jackson got screwed out of making the All-Big East First Team.

It’s that simple.

Ironically enough, this week also marks the fifth anniversary of the “overrated” Gerry McNamara run to a Big East Tournament title.

McNamara was voted by Big East assistant coaches and players in two separate 2006 polls as the most overrated player in the conference, which led to this memorable tirade by Jim Boeheim.

That led to a remarkable run at Madison Square Garden, as McNamara and the Orange became the first team in Big East history to win four straight games in the conference tournament.

I hope something similar happens this weekend with Jackson.

How can you leave this guy off your first team?

All he did this season was lead the league in rebounds (10.7), field goal percentage (.595) and blocked shots (2.5).

Jackson scored 13 points per game and is the only player in the conference this year to average a double-double.

To not reward this guy for an unbelievable season is ridiculous.

Jackson has been durable throughout his four-year career, playing at least 35 games a season and increasing his numbers each season in the process.

Jackson’s Career Statistics

2007-08: 3.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG

2008-09: 8.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG

2009-10: 9.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG

2010-11: 13.1 PPG, 10.7 RPG

I’m not going to sit here and diminish the seasons of all six First Team selections (UConn's Kemba Walker, Providence's Marshon Brooks, SJU's Dwight Hardy, Georgetown's Austin Freeman, Pitt's Ashton Gibbs and Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough).

I will, however, point out the fact that four of the players’ teams finished outside the top four in the Big East, and all six were the top scorers in the league.

First Team selections should be more than just scorers, and to me the numbers just don’t add up.

Jackson deserved the nod, and I hope he goes G-Mac on the conference this weekend.

After all, he is, right now, the most underrated player in the league.

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