Jackson admits he had no idea what to expect going overseas. He did know he’d be able to play his natural position of point guard. Jackson got his first shot at pro ball in Romania, playing for CN Aurel Vlaicu București.
Jackson flourished with the ball in his hands, averaging 37.3 points, seven assists and 5.2 rebounds as a rookie pro. But Jackson would be the first to admit that the league’s competition wasn’t quite the best.
“It’s levels,” Jackson said. “The only thing that matters is what you do your first year. If I would have went to that Romanian league and averaged 20, they would have been looking at me like that’s nothing.”
But Jackson’s performance set him up to move up in the ranks. His next move would take him east, to Qatar.
“I ended up getting a call from the coach at Al-Kor,” he said. “He was like, I know you’re in a bad league, but I can tell you’re a great player.”
The league was a move up in competition, but Jackson showed he was up to the task. He led the league with an average of 24.3 points per game, pulled down 10.3 rebounds per game and also dished out 5.8 assists per game during the 2018-19 season. He did this despite being the youngest player on his team, surprising his coaches with how well he played in the league, which included former G-League players.
“I had shocked them because they thought I was too young for the league,” Jackson said. “It opened my eyes.”