After an up-and-down 2021-22 season, Duke returns to the hardwood this year with a handful of fresh faces and true grit. In this series, the Blue Zone analyzes the new signees’ film for the 2022-23 season. We previously looked at Kennedy Brown and Taya Corosdale. Next up is Ashlon Jackson:
Ashlon Jackson is one of the most exciting freshmen coming to Cameron Indoor Stadium this year.
The 6-foot guard out of China, Texas, has an impressive resume with the fundamentals to boot. If you recognize her name, it’s likely because of her awe-inspiring McDonald’s All-America Game showing earlier this year. Jackson not only won the women’s 3-point contest with 18 points, but her total was higher than the men's leading scorer, Baylor’s Keyonte George, who had 12 points. She also advanced to the semifinals of the skills competition and started for the West Team, scoring seven points on 3-of-5 from the field.
Before becoming a McDonald’s All-American, though, Jackson had to first be one of the most highly regarded high school girl’s basketball players in Texas. No. 16-overall recruit in the country and third at her position, per ESPN, Jackson is a three-time All-State honoree and was the 2021 Super Gold and SETCA Player of the Year. In her junior season at Hardin-Jefferson High School, she averaged 22.6 points, 5.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 4.9 steals per game, indicating that the Blue Devils are getting a well-rounded guard who can contribute in every corner of the court.
Her most impressive numbers, unsurprisingly, are through shooting. That same season, she shot 53% from the field and 43% from three, and if you want to see what sort of threat she can be from distance, go watch her McDonald’s All-America game contest win. However, while she certainly has the potential to be a sharp-shooter, only 26% of her field goal attempts came from beyond the arc.
She’s demonstrated an impressive ability to find space in the midrange and at the rim. Watch the following clips, as she first darts past her defender and puts up a clean jumper off the dribble. She then uses a similar path to assist her teammate’s layup. In the final clip, she shows off the versatile ways she can score below the basket.
Jackson also has good court vision, and if she doesn’t immediately see an opportunity for herself, she is adept at finding open teammates. In this clip, after missing a contested layup, Jackson gets her own rebound but finds herself in traffic without an outlet. So she threads the needle to find her teammate on the opposite wing for a solid 3-point opportunity.
But despite impressive offensive abilities, her vision and quickness translate well to defense. In this clip, she gets set and successfully stops her opponent, forcing a pass around the outside. She then grabs the rebound as the opposing team gets an attempt up.
Keep watching the previous video, though, and you’ll see one of her greatest strengths—communication. There is nary a highlight reel of Jackson that is not narrated by her own voice directing the play and working with her teammates. Surely, when she arrives in Durham, full of skill and personality, Blue Devil fans will delight in watching what Jackson can accomplish at the collegiate level.
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Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.