When it comes to basketball, Jackson Kent was always playing. The freshman point guard from High Point, North Carolina grew up in an athletic family. His mother played college volleyball and his father has over 500 wins as a high school basketball coach. The influence of growing up with a basketball coach in the family has been an important one.
“There was always somebody in my ear trying to make me better along with myself trying to make myself better. He was a great mentor to me. It was tough at times, but I enjoyed it and I do appreciate it,” said Kent about his father.
The relationship has helped Kent in his freshman season as he’s been a main contributor off the bench, averaging 8.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in just over 26 minutes a game. Kent’s early season has been a perfect example of the ups and downs that come with learning the ropes of college basketball. At times he has shown his ability, leading the team in scoring with 16 points against Winthrop, while other times have proven more difficult to make his impact in a game.
It’s something that Kent knows is part of the learning process and the challenge of adapting to the college game. When talking about it, Jackson acknowledges, “It’s definitely a little quicker and a lot of guys are bigger and stronger. It’s been a bit of an adjustment; you have to slow down and play smarter.”
Kent knows that to be successful he must continue to work and improve. “Definitely my strength and defense are things I need to improve. I feel like I’m getting better at defense every day.” It’s with those improvements that Kent has the chance to be a special player for the Dukes. As a 6’7” point guard with a good shooting stroke, Kent has the opportunity to be a special player with his versatility on offense and his length on defense.
The opportunity to come into a young team and play right away has only sped up the learning curve according to Kent. “It gives me experience at a young age. I know what to expect every game now. It has helped me a lot.”
With Kent’s exposure to the game as the son of a basketball coach, he understands the continual learning process and the work it takes to be successful. He hopes that knowledge will make his four years at James Madison memorable ones.