Few shoes in college basketball will be harder to fill next season than those of former All-American and likely first round NBA draft pick Isaiah Canaan at Murray State. According to ESPN's Andy Katz, the player who will attempt to do the job will be a controversial one.
Zay Jackson, who was suspended for the entire 2012-13 season, will be back in a Racers uniform this fall, Katz reports. Not only will he be suiting up, but head coach Steve Prohm has already pegged him as Murray State's starting point guard.
Jackson's year-long suspension stems from an incident in which he hit a man with his car after a verbal altercation in a Walmart parking lot. The disturbing incident was captured by surveillance video, and Jackson was subsequently suspended for his entire sophomore season.
Jackson originally pled guilty to charges of wanton endangerment last October, but a new judge in his case threw out the original deal and called for a one-year sentence. Under his original plea, Jackson would receive a 30-day sentence which could be served on weekends. The original judge in Jackson's case recused himself from the trial after admitting close ties with the university.
Jackson withdrew his guilty plea following the harsher settlement, and a grand jury indicted him on Dec. 6 with charges of second-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment. He was sentenced to five years on both counts, with the sentences running concurrently. Jackson wound up serving 49 days in jail and began practicing with his team at Murray State again soon after his release. He also sat on the bench during games last season.
As a freshman in 2011-12, Jackson averaged 4.9 points per game and 2.3 assists per game for a Murray State squad that won the OVC and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.