SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Guard Marcus Jackson, a three-year starter at Rice University, will graduate in May and transfer to UC Santa Barbara where he will have one year of eligibility remaining, head coach Joe Pasternack announced Friday.
As a graduate transfer, Jackson will not have to sit out a year and will be eligible to play for the Gauchos in 2017-18.
"Marcus is the consummate student-athlete and a three-time Conference USA All-Academic Team member who will fit in perfectly at UCSB," Pasternack said. "On the court, he is a combo guard who can really score the ball and make his teammates better. His experience is also a big plus."
"UCSB was the all-around perfect fit for me," Jackson said. "Originally being from the Los Angeles area, it's truly an honor to be able to play my last year close to home. Academically, it's an incredible opportunity to continue my education at a top-tier university. The icing on the cake is Coach Pasternack with his ability to develop players and the vision he has for the team. Seeing the team and meeting the players played a major role in my decision. Everyone is a family and they are all here for the same reason. I'm excited to join the family."
Jackson started all 35 games during the 2016-17 season for the Owls. He was third on the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game and second in assists at 2.3 per game. He scored a season-high 20 points games against Pittsburgh and Southern Mississippi. Also had 19 points while passing off for a career-high eight assists at James Madison and 19 points at Omaha. When Jackson scored 11 points in a Feb. 25 game against Louisiana Tech he became the 35th player in Rice history to eclipse 1,000 points. In all, he scored in double-figures 25 times as the Owls won 23 games, the second most in school history, and advanced to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational.
A native of Acton, Calif., and graduate of Pacific Hills High School, Jackson sat out the 2015-16 season as a medical redshirt after injuring his knee during the preseason. In 2014-15, however, he had a stellar sophomore campaign when he averaged 14.5 points per game and led Conference USA with 85 three-pointers, the most ever by a sophomore at Rice and the second most ever overall. Jackson made a career-high six threes in a game against UT-San Antonio and he hit at least four threes in 12 games. He finished the season by making at least one in 25 consecutive games. He scored a career-high 30 points against Prairie View A&M and scored 20 or more nine times. In addition to his scoring prowess, Jackson averaged 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He also finished third in Conference USA in free throw percentage at 83.1%.
In 2013-14, his freshman season with the Owls, Jackson started 20 of his 27 games and averaged 6.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He also added 32 steals, the most by any freshman player in Conference USA.