Analyzing Jackson Rowe

April 20th, 2020

By Alan Lu

Amidst the flurry of declarations, I decided to take some time to watch a basketball game from an intriguing, but unheralded prospect that recently played in college basketball.  I set out to watch Cal State Fullerton’s 6-7 senior forward, Jackson Rowe play against UC Irvine that took place on February 1st, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via KDOC-TV Los Angeles.  Rowe is an athletic combo forward that may project into a 3 and D type of role at the next level, and he put up solid numbers this season at his school.  I decided to watch him play in this match to get a further look into his strengths and weaknesses.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Cal State Fullerton’s 6-7 senior forward, Jackson Rowe is a basketball player that is eligible to be selected by teams in the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo: Cal State Fullerton, via Orange County Register.)

Jackson Rowe is a versatile scorer that can do so in a variety of ways.  In this game, he showed a decent ability to score on strong drives to the basket.  Rowe is a strong, physical player that has an adequate first step to the hoop, and he excelled at drawing fouls upon his defenders, which would often enable him to get to the free throw line.  He also was able to score on a strong right-handed drive, and he can easily take bigger players off the dribble to score and get free throws in the paint.

He also is an effective low post scorer.  Rowe moved across the paint to get the ball in the post, and he proceeded to use a quick spin move to get a strong score off the glass while getting an extra free throw on the play.  On the downside, sometimes he can be prone to rushing his shots, which can lead him to miss shots in traffic, which can tend to happen when he is not able to get foul calls.

Also, Rowe possesses a decent ability to knock down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He was able to use a jab step move prior to driving right to the hoop, and he then used a step back move to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper from just outside the right elbow.  He also used a ball fake, which enabled him to get to the foul line after hoisting up another mid-range shot.  Rowe also can knock down spot-up threes.  Sometimes he may not hoist up enough jumpers, but he can effectively make long-range shots off the catch, and he also has plenty of range on his shot.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Rowe is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass, as he can pass out of the post to find open shooters to set up scores for them, and he also can throw sharp passes off the dribble. Occasionally though, he may struggle to handle the ball in traffic, and there was one play where he drove into traffic and got tied up by a defender, though his team was fortunate to have to possession arrow, which allowed his team to keep the ball.  On the plus side, he did a good job of taking care of the basketball in general, and Rowe did not commit a single turnover in this game.

Plus, he also was able to get his fair share of boards when he was on the floor.  Rowe was able to leap up to get rebounds on both ends of the floor, and he also managed to get an offensive rebound in traffic.  Sometimes he would bring the ball up after getting defensive rebounds, which would allow him to create early offensive opportunities for his team.  There was one play though where he allowed an opponent to get an offensive board in his area, and he then committed a foul shortly afterwards.

Rowe also played adequate defense in this game.  He is an active help defender that can get blocks and steals.  He rotated on a drive in order to block a shot to a teammate, and he also can deflect passes and poke balls away due to possessing good length, awareness, and instincts to do so.  He was often matched up against the other team’s big men, and he ably held his own when defending in the post, as he would actively contest shots to force misses, and he also was able to get a couple of stops when defending drives due to good positioning.  There were a few possessions where he struggled to defend in the post though, as he would sometimes get backed down pretty far in the paint when defending Collin Welp, and he sometimes had trouble defending taller opponents down low.  He also occasionally struggled to defend guards out on the perimeter, as he doesn’t possess elite lateral quickness, and he would sometimes get beat off the dribble, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Jackson Rowe is a versatile combo forward that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is a player that would have likely have benefitted from having the Portsmouth Invitational as an available showcase to show his skills to a large group of NBA scouts and teams.  Unfortunately, there will not be an NCAA Tournament or Portsmouth Invitational this year because of the ongoing coronavirus situation, so it may be hard for him to get noticed by many NBA teams.  He’s also missed a handful of games due to a knee injury earlier this season, so teams may be curious to know if his knee can hold up over the course of a long season.  At the moment, he may be a long shot to be drafted by a team in the NBA, and there will be questions about the level of competition that he has faced, since he played a relatively small Division 1 school.  Rowe may likely have to grind his way through the G-League or overseas initially, but if he works hard to continue to improve as an overall player, he could perhaps end up making his way to the NBA someday.

Other Notes:

There were a couple of other players that caught my eye, even if they may also be long shots to make it to the NBA.

Cal State Fullerton’s 6-5 senior guard, Brandon Kamga excelled as a scorer off the dribble in this game, and he also was able to make a couple of spot-up threes to help space the floor for his team.  He also played solid defense, as he ran back on defense to block a shot off of a drive in transition to a teammate, and he also is a rangy defender that can make plays on the ball.  Kamga is a solid athlete that looked to be the most athletic player in this game, and he is an intriguing combo guard that can make plays with the ball in his hands.  He will need to make more jump shots consistently in games, and he will need to improve his decision-making ability on offense as he had a rather low Assist-to-Turnover ratio this season, but Kamga could be a player to keep an eye on, and he could end up having a solid career in either the G-League or overseas if he is not able to make it to the NBA.

UC Irvine’s 6-2 guard, Eyassu Worku excelled as a scorer on quick drives as well as on mid-range shots to help get his team buckets on offense.  He also is an unselfish player that can find the open man, and he also was able to make an open three-point shot off the catch.  He is a player that can put up a barrage of points in a hurry, and he could end having a solid career in either the G-League or overseas.

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