In most times, players do not respond well to adversity. It takes a toll on them mentally and emotionally. Add in when the adversity is physical, then you must have the will to progress forward and not let it disrupt the flow of making sure you come back ready to go.
Enter Chloe Jackson.
The 5-foot-8 guard from Upper Marlboro, Maryland experienced a fractured foot and spent two years on the sidelines before finding her home at Baylor. Not only that, the fifth-year senior had to convert from shooting guard to point guard once she arrived in Waco.
“Anticipate you’ve got to get rid of your quarterback in football. You’ve got to take a wide receiver, put them in at quarterback,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey stated to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post before the Final Four. “That’s what we had to do.”
Back in September, sophomore guard Alexis Morris was dismissed from the team for violating team rules. Jackson was slated to be a shooting guard and play some point guard for Baylor this year before the dismissal of Morris.
Now, Baylor has gone on to win the national championship after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday 82-81. The championship win, in large part, was because of Chloe Jackson. She finished the game with 26 points on 13-of-25 shooting. Of the 13 shots made, the most important was a layup with 3.9 seconds to go that gave Baylor the lead.
Jackson was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.
“I just came into the game confident,” stated Jackson after the game. “I was aggressive from the beginning, and that was the main thing.”
It is a moment that most players don’t understand or have the chance to appreciate. Winning the national championship is not what is being mentioned here. Chloe Jackson transferred from NC State to LSU. At LSU, she was a dynamite player. In her two years as a Lady Tiger, Jackson was a double-digit scorer who could rebound. She averaged 18.1 points and 4.7 rebounds during the 2017-18 season at LSU. Before arriving in Baton Rouge, Jackson was a freshman at NC State. Unfortunately, she went through the freshman year with a fractured foot and sat that year as a medical redshirt.
Who she was as a player at the start, through adversity, then who she became at Baylor, highlights Jackson’s ability to both adapt and overcome — a key in aiding Baylor to a national title run.
This season, as the point guard, Jackson flourished in the role. She averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals. Kim Mulkey was able to trust Jackson as the floor general, giving the team variable options. Mulkey was able to develop Jackson into what she needed for Baylor to be successful.
The instances that Chloe Jackson went through help to mold her into the player she is now. A national champion.
“I did not know what it was going to be,” Jackson stated to Wallace. “I went in kind of blind, it was a leap of faith. I couldn’t imagine when I was sitting out that I would be here. It was a leap of faith … everything happens for a reason.”
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