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Basketball: End-of-year capsules, No. 4

3/28/2011

Over a two week period that began last week, we're going over the 10 scholarship basketball players who were on USC's 2010-2011 roster -- one by one, Monday-Friday -- and recap their accomplishments in the now-completed season, no matter how big or how small. We began with redshirt junior forward Aaron Fuller, redshirt sophomore Evan Smith and sophomore Curtis Washington, with the years in reference to what they will be come next season.

We fell behind some last week, so four, five and six will be coming your way Monday, starting with sophomore forward Garrett Jackson.

Jackson had an interesting year at USC as really the only player who played any sort of minutes without playing big minutes. He was the freshman who played a typical role for freshmen, as opposed to Maurice Jones' 34.5 minutes per game. There was also Bryce Jones, but he left the team in January when his minutes were reduced to Jackson's range after Jio Fontan became eligible.

So what did Jackson do well in 2010-2011?

He was a capable scorer, when given the chance. He was the best shooter on the team -- albeit in limited opportunities -- and showed a solid midrange and 3-point stroke. His rebounding was OK -- not where'd you like it to be a for a 6-7 power forward, which is what he most often played, but respectable. His defense needed a lot of work, though, and was the primary reason he didn't get more minutes than he did.

There were times where coach Kevin O'Neill would insert Jackson for one play and then immediately take him out after a mess-up on defense. When asked -- which he frequently was -- why Jackson wasn't getting more minutes, O'Neill would consistently say that he wasn't confident in Jackson's defensive abilities to trust him all situations.

So what Jackson needs to do over the summer is clear: get better defensively. The rest of his offseason focus depends on where the Trojans envision using him. Do they see him as a small forward or power forward in the future?

For next year's team, it makes a bit more sense to use Jackson as the small forward, likely interchanging him a bit with Fuller at power forward.

That's it for right now. Coming up shortly is sophomore guard Maurice Jones.