Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
Pierre Jackson was selected as the preseason basketball player of the year Thursday for the Big 12 Conference by the league’s coaches.
Yes, the 5-foot-10 Baylor point guard and Las Vegas native is one of college basketball’s best players. While he’s humbled by the honor, Jackson is even more excited about another award he’s receiving this week.
The former Desert Pines High standout will have his basketball jersey No. 5 retired Friday at halftime of the Jaguars’ football game against Virgin Valley.
Jackson was a three-year letter winner at Desert Pines and arguably the best player in the school’s 14-year history. As a senior, he scored 736 points and had 263 assists in earning first-team all-state honors.
Jackson’s most notable game came against Findlay Prep, the high school powerhouse in Henderson that plays mostly a national schedule and regularly sends players to high Division I schools and the NBA.
On that night, Jackson outdueled Findlay’s Avery Bradley in scoring 32 points. Bradley, an elite defender, is expected to start this year for the Boston Celtics.
“I tell a lot of people he is the best to come out of Vegas, and they just look at me like I’m crazy,” said Chancellor Davis, the Desert Pines coach during Jackson’s senior year. “I was saying that not just because I was his coach, but because I played against him every day in practice. If he was 6-2, he would have been the best recruit in the nation.”
Jackson was a non-Division I qualifier out of Desert Pines, excelling two years at the College of Southern Idaho before joining Baylor last fall. As a sophomore, he led CSI to the national championship in being named the junior college player of the year.
He continued the solid performances last year at Baylor. He averaged 13.8 points per game and had 223 assists in helping Baylor reach the Elite Eight. He scored in double figures in 27 games and was honorable mention All-American.
Not matter what he accomplishes, Jackson typically mentions his hometown of Las Vegas and how proud he is to represent the area at the next level. He even has the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign tattooed on his back.
“I’m always going to be representing my city,” he said. “I want to show everyone what Vegas guys are made of. We play good basketball here. “
For Jackson, who started playing pickup games at Desert Pines in middle school, having his jersey retired ranks right up there with other significant moments of his career.
“I love Desert Pines. I really do,” he said. “I used to be at Desert Pines all the time in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades because my sister went there. Everybody knows me, and I know them. It’s my home.”