It was a typical workman-like performance for Rick Jackson.
In Saturday’s 107-59 win over DePaul on Senior Day, Jackson — SU’s lone scholarship senior — finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, while shooting 7-for-10 from the field. The only thing that was not typical was his 27 minutes, but that was only because Syracuse was enjoying a blowout.
“Just to be out there and have people root for you, just to get that (framed) jersey and know that you won’t be coming back, it’s kind of weird right now,” Jackson said to reporters after the game. “I had a great time being here.”
Jackson checked out for the last time late in the second half to a standing ovation from the 28,086 at the Carrier Dome, and had a brief exchange with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
“He has had a tremendous year, a tremendous career really,” Boeheim said during his post game press conference. “He gives you everything he’s got, every game. He doesn’t ever come up short.”
Before the game, the Orange all wore t-shirts saying “Thanks for the Memories” on the front with Jackson’s double-zero across the back.
It has been quite a career for Jackson, as he’s one of only five players in SU history to record at least 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 200 blocked shots.
Jackson was one of the more unheralded players that arrived in a recruiting class that included Donte Greene and Jonny Flynn. Even Scoop Jardine, who attended Philadelphia’s Neumann-Goretti High School with Jackson received more attention.
But Jackson’s improvement throughout the years led to him leading the Big East in rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage in his senior year, while being named to the All Big East Second Team.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” Jardine said to reporters following the game. “He’s done a great job in his four years here – he’s gotten better every year and that’s what you want when you come to college.”
But Jackson has had little time to reflect on his career.
“We have more games,” Jackson said. “I hope we can go further than last year and close out this year on a good note.”
The Orange will enter the Big East tournament as the fourth seed and will receive a double-bye. It should set up the Orange for a high seed come NCAA Tournament time and give it an opportunity to follow through on the team motto from this year, “Unfinished Business.”
“(When) you lose twice (in the Sweet Sixteen), you have unfinished business,” Jackson said. “Last year, we had a great year but I think this year we can have a great year now that we have some young guys that can do some things.”