The 2019 NCAA basketball season is underway, and the Zips are locked in. They sit at 4-2, with their two losses coming from West Virginia, and the number two ranked team in the nation, the Louisville Cardinals. Their first four wins of the seasons have been stand out as well, winning on average by 20 points. With all of this in mind, I decided to catch up with Akron’s starting guard, Loren Christian Jackson.
When I asked, Jackson what he attributes this early success to, he told me, “team comradery, we’re a close group of guys and we hang out a lot, [we make] sure we’re doing something together as a whole team and not just different cliques.”
When asked how he feels about playing big time schools, such as Louisville and West Virginia, he told me he enjoys the challenge saying, “if you don’t enjoy playing teams like that, it’d be kind of weird. You want to play the best of the best and see where your team is at. So, playing teams like that, it gives us something to fall back on, knowing we can play with these teams, and we can beat these teams.”
Jackson is not originally from Ohio, he’s been around the country. He was born in Chicago, went to high school in Florida, and spent some time at Long Beach State in California, before coming to Akron. When talking about what drew him to Akron, he said, “the coaching staff. As soon as I put my name into the transfer portal they were calling my dad, they were calling me, and they brought me in. When I got onto campus, I liked it and it felt at home.”
Last year the Zips fell short of the NCAA tournament, going 17-16, 8-10 in the MAC. This year, the Zips have one goal in mind, “we want to win it all,” Jackson said. “That’s been our main focus, just taking it one game at a time. Right now we’re working and focusing on Friday against Merrimack and are trying to live in the present and not in the future.”
One thing that both Zips fans and players know alike is the rivalry with Kent State. As of now, the Golden Flashes sit atop the MAC East with a record of 5-1. Even though its early, I had to get Jackson’s reaction to possibly playing Kent for the MAC East title. He told me, “playing in [the game] last year, that was a real fun game, regardless [of ranking], but I just see it as another game. It’s a fun game, but I just see it as another game.”
College athletes get very little free time, and when they do, most use it to rest up and get ready for their next game. Jackson informed me that whenever he can find some free time, he, “loves to play video games. I play video games all the time. I watch basketball, watch football. [I] do normal student stuff, make sure I do my homework, and hang out with my friends.
Jackson is a redshirt junior, which means he has another year to play after this one. My final question was about what he thinks he might want to do after he graduates where he told me, “I’m going to try to play as long as I can, try to adventure a bit professionally, wherever that might take me. After that, I’m going to try to take over my dad’s sports academy that he has in Florida, Victory Rock Prep, and I’m going to try to expand it and things like that.”
The Akron Zips continue their quest to win it all tomorrow at the JAR, where they will take on Merrimack. Jackson hopes to see you all there saying, “I hope all the fans come to the game and support us. We’re playing a different style of basketball this year, it’s a lot more fun to watch, and I hope everyone comes out and supports.”
Written by: Jack Riedinger