CANMORE, Alta. — The case could easily be made to claim that the best young group of players in the Conference USA belong to the UTSA Roadrunners.
Sophomores Byron Frohnen and Giovanni De Nicolao have the look of potential stars in the conference for the next two-plus seasons, and will be key building blocks for the program as their respective careers progress. Neither are known for their scoring prowess, and the Roadrunners addressed that with the 2017 recruiting class.
Enter freshman guard Jhivvan Jackson, who is currently leading the team with an average of 17.0 points per contest over the team’s first five games of the season.
This past week, the Roadrunners had a grueling stretch of four games in a five-day window. Three of them were apart of the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase, which took place from Friday through to Sunday. Following a game against the Texas State Bobcats, the Roadrunners jumped on a plane to take part in the inaugural event.
The Roadrunners went 2-2 this past week, and Jackson emerged as a name to keep an eye in the Conference USA as the season unfolds.
For his efforts this past week, a stretch of games that saw him continue his strong play to start his freshman campaign, UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson was selected by the fans as the College Court Report Fan-Voted Freshman of the Week for November 13-19, 2017!
Jackson earned 54% of the vote in our weekly Twitter poll. He beat out Teyvion Kirk (Ohio), Taylor Funk (Saint Joseph’s), and Tywhon Pickford (Northern Iowa) for the weekly honour.
The Roadrunners kicked off their week with a road contest against Texas State in San Marcos, TX. The game came down to the wire, but the Roadrunners pushed their record to 2-0 at the time with a 79-78 victory.
Jackson scored 15 points in just 21 minutes off the bench to help lead the Roadrunners to the victory. He added one assist, and was 4-for-7 from three point range in the win.
From there, the Roadrunners traveled to take part in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase. The inaugural event was chalked full of talented programs from smaller conferences all across the country. Each team in the field had their hands full with each passing game.
UTSA opened the event against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Friday. Jackson came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds in 26 minutes of action, but the Roadrunners fell to the Chanticleers, 83-69. His 26 minutes and 19 points were both season-high marks at the time for Jackson.
On Saturday, the Roadrunners took on the Bradley Braves on the Consolation side of the bracket. It was another close game for the Roadrunners, but unlike their win against Texas State, they came up on the losing end of this one, 71-69.
Jackson had 15 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals in what was arguably his best all-around performance of his young Division I career. He was also 5-for-11 (45.5%) from the field on the afternoon.
To close out the week, the Roadrunners took on the James Madison Dukes in the 7th/8th place game of the event. Jackson made sure that the Roadrunners came back to the mainland with a win under their belts. He recorded a career-high 22 points and seven rebounds off the bench to lead the Roadrunners to the 90-77 win over the Dukes.
Over the course of the four games, a stretch that saw the Roadrunners go 2-2, Jackson averaged 17.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, while shooting 19-for-47 (40.4%) from the field.
Early on in his collegiate career, Jackson has emerged as the team’s top option off the bench. If he keeps playing the way he has been, it’s not a matter of if he will make his debut in the starting lineup, but more of a ‘when’.
Jackson has scored in double-figures in all five games to start the season, and shows no signs of slowing down as the season progresses. Along with De Nicolao and Frohnen, Jackson gives the Roadrunners arguably the top young core in the Conference USA.
For his efforts this past week, a stretch that saw the Roadrunners earn a split over four games in five days, guard Jhivvan Jackson has been selected as the College Court Report Freshman of the Week for the week of November 13-19, 2017!
– T. Bennett
Nov. 10-12, 2017: Cameron Bacote, Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks
**College Court Report Freshman of the Week recipients are selected from teams in the following conferences:
America East, Atlantic Sun, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern, Southland, Summit League, SWAC, Sun Belt, West Coast, and WAC