Cedric Jackson

If it was just defense that made Cedric Jackson a good player, he might have just been another face in the crowd.

But the way Jackson really stands out is that he is an all-around player.

Jackson has the abilities to cover the entire court by using his speed, defend a team’s top player, drive, dish, and shoot. The 6-foot-2 guard can play both ends of the court, and do it well.

With increased energy and a year of experience with the Red Storm under his belt, Jackson might have one of the most highly anticipated seasons this year. “The Entertainer,” a nickname given to Jackson by his high school coach, is expected to a big contributor to St. John’s on both defense and offense.

While junior guard Daryll Hill may be the team’s top scorer and arguably the team’s best player, Jackson may be the most improved.

“Probably the guy that has improved the most over the summer from where he was is probably Cedric Jackson,” Roberts said.

As a freshman, Jackson appeared in all 27 of the Red Storm’s games, and got 25 starts under his belt. Jackson averaged 4.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.7 assists per game.

Most notable would be Jackson’s Nov. 27 game against Niagara where he racked up 16 points, dished out 5 assists and had 4 steals.

Jackson has always been a stand out player, even before playing for St. John’s. Hailing from Columbus, N.J., Jackson was named to many all state teams, including most valuable player, and one of the top dunkers by NJHoops.com

One of the keys to him understanding what is expected of him was the experience he gained by playing tons of minutes last year because the team had just eight scholarship players.

“I think he is understanding his role better because he did not know what his role was going to be last year,” Roberts said.

While Jackson was plagued with a knee injury last season, he has worked hard in the off-season to really improve his game. Jackson is healthy now and ready to play. “The Entertainer” has worked on all aspects of his game.

“Running and lifting weights has made me a lot stronger,” Jackson said. … “St. John’s is a great place to play, and playing in the Garden and here is a really good experience.”

With the expansion of the Big East, Jackson knows this season will be tougher than last.

But the team and the coaches are there for each other all the time.

“We will go over to the coaches house to relax or we will talk on the phone,” he said.

With all his speed and ability the New Jersey native has to offer, St. John’s will be looking to him to be a big part of its attack this season.