Posted May 20, 2013

Could Murray State’s replacement for Isaiah Canaan be unlikely choice Zay Jackson?

Strange Tales
Murray State's Zay Jackson is once again eligible to play for the Racers next season. (David E. Klutho/SI)

Murray State’s Zay Jackson is once again eligible to play for the Racers next season. (David E. Klutho/SI)

ESPN.com’s Andy Katz had an interesting note in his 3-point Shot on Monday, detailing a conversation with Murray State head coach Steve Prohm. In it, Prohm suggested that the Racers could replace departing star point guard Isaiah Canaan with Zay Jackson, who missed all of last season after he was jailed following a parking lot road rage hit-and-run that was captured on surveillance camera.

In case you didn’t see the video when the incident happened last year, here it is:

Jackson ended up serving 49 days of a 60-day jail sentence and once again is eligible to play for the Racers. According to Katz, Prohm said Jackson practiced with the team once he was released from jail and that Jackson has a 2.75 GPA, so grades aren’t an eligibility issue.

It’s an interesting situation for a team in transition that also has Clemson transfer T.J. Sapp becoming eligible in December. In addition to losing Canaan, the Racers also see Ed Daniel and Stacy Wilson moving on, so they are going to be without their three best players from last season. Jackson showed significant progress as a freshman in 2011-12, so it makes sense that the program has wanted to keep him, especially if this (even in all its seriousness) was a one-off disciplinary issue.

The Ohio Valley will be seeing a ton of transition across its contending teams. Belmont loses star guards Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark. Tennessee State loses Robert Covington. Tennessee Tech loses Jud Dillard. This past season was an excellent one for the conference, and next year will be one filled with adjustments as younger players step up. In that kind of a landscape, there’s no reason to count out a program as solid as Murray State, and since he’s paid his dues and reportedly been a model citizen since, it’s harder to argue that Murray State should have simply given up completely on Jackson. We’ll see what kind of impact he can have after a year away from game action and whether the process has been worth it for all parties.

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