VALENCIA -- Was making my rounds all over the Southland on Tuesday afternoon in an effort to gather some boys’ basketball notes and I decided to make a stop in the Santa Clarita Valley to check in on Lonnie Jackson and see how things were going with Valencia' standout senior. Turns out, times are tough for him these days.
Apparently, the 6-foot-3, 165-pound shooting guard is suffering from a troublesome left foot injury that could end up keeping him out of the lineup for as many as two weeks, perhaps longer. And that fact doesn’t bode particularly well for Valencia as it prepares for the start of Foothill League play this week.
“We’re going to be without Lonnie for a while, and any time you don’t have your best player in uniform, that’s a big problem,’’ Vikings coach Robert “Rocket” Collins said. “We’re not sure how the injury happened, but he has couple of bones in his left foot that are rubbing together. There’s some bruising.’’
Overcoming such a loss won’t be easy for the Vikings (9-5 overall) considering Jackson is one of the top players around. In fact, Boston College was so enamored with his well-rounded skill set that the Golden Eagles offered him a scholarship and Jackson signed a letter-of-intent in late September.
ESPNU ranks Jackson as one of the state’s premier players at his position, right behind well-known peers such as Oakland’s Jabari Brown and San Diego Lincoln’s Norman Powell, who are heading to Oregon and UCLA, respectively.
Closer to home, when it comes to Southern California’s top shooting guards, Jackson’s name is frequently mentioned in the same sentence as Newport Beach Corona del Mar’s Danny Cheek, Corona Centennial’s Dominique Dunning, Villa Park’s Shaquille Hunter and Palos Verdes Peninsula’s Reese Morgan.
With that being said, the Vikings figure to have a difficult task ahead. Trying to find a suitable replacement for Jackson won’t be easy. He was averaging 19 points, six rebounds and four assists per game before being sidelined.
“No Lonnie, things are going to be interesting, I can tell you that,’’ Collins said. “We’re going to make adjustments and move on, for now.’’