April 13, 2011
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - In an afternoon news conference Wednesday, Saluki head coach Chris Lowery announced that Wyoming guard Desmar Jackson will transfer to Southern Illinois.
Jackson, who will sit out next season due to NCAA transfer guidelines, led the Cowboys in scoring as a sophomore last season with 14.6 points per game. In 2010, he averaged 11.8 points and was named to the CollegeInsider.com Freshmen All-America Team.
At 6-foot-6, Jackson was a highly coveted prospect coming out of Warren G. Harding (Ohio) H.S. two years ago. According to the Wyoming sports information office, his suitors included Ohio State, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Stanford and Virginia.
"We haven't had a 6-6 guard who can score like he can," said Lowery. "He's a proven scorer at the collegiate level."
Jackson ranked fifth in the Mountain West Conference in scoring last year and 13th in rebounding (4.9 rebounds per game). The league featured NCAA Tournament qualifiers BYU, San Diego State and UNLV, and players such as Wooden Award winner Jimmer Fredette of BYU.
"He has played against big-time competition and you have to be impressed by the numbers he's put up," Lowery noted.
In a game against nationally ranked BYU in February, Jackson had a season-high 23 points. He led the team in scoring 14 times last season and scored in double figures in 25 of 30 games.
"When you watch tape of him, what really sticks out is how long and fluid he is," Lowery said. "He scores almost effortlessly."
As a freshman, Jackson scored 20 or more points seven times, including a career-best 31 points versus Utah. On the season, he shot 50.8 percent from the field, which ranked fourth in the MWC. His shooting percentage dipped slightly to 44.4 percent his sophomore year.
Jackson began his high school career at Warren Kennedy High School but transferred to Warren G. Harding prior to his junior season and led the school to a combined record of 46-5 in two seasons.
In addition to Jackson, the Salukis will have five newcomers on the roster next season. Already signed are freshman forwards Treg Setty, Dantiel Daniels and Antonio Bryer, center Harry Whitt, and guard Josh Swan.