Pima Community College sports

Pima spotlight: Traivar Jackson

Pima’s Traivar Jackson was recently the national player of the week in NJCAA Division II basketball (Pima photo)

It hasn’t taken long for freshman Traivar Jackson to make an impact forNo. 9-ranked Pima College.

Since joining the Aztecs this year, the 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward/center has started all 16 games, averaging 17.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 steals. He has also shot an impressive 63.9 percent from the field.

In the month of December, Jackson increased his totals by averaging 23.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 3.5 blocks.

“Being aggressive without the ball and getting to my point where I can just turn around and score quick,” Jackson said about why he is producing at a great rate. “Also setting up my teammates, because when you set up other people, the ball can come back your way for easy buckets.”

The NJCAA took notice to Jackson. They recognized him as the Division II Player of the Week last week.

This is the first time a Pima player received that recognition since the 2016-2017 season, when Empire graduate Deion James earned the award.

Originally from Anchorage, Jackson began playing basketball as a sixth grader after transitioning from baseball.

He credits his father for inspiring him to continue to get better in his passion for basketball.

“You always wanna be like your dad when you grow up,” Jackson said. “He used to play basketball and I was just growing at a rapid rate. By sixth/seventh grade, I started playing basketball and took over from there.”

Jackson played at the varsity level as a freshman in high school.

As a sophomore, Jackson suffered a knee injury that kept him out for the season. He retured as a junior as an all-around player.

“Freshman year, I started on JV and got moved up to varsity, then sophomore year, I had something wrong with my knee and I was out for the whole season,” he added. “Junior and senior year was when I had to take control because all the upperclassmen left. So I was even bringing the ball up the court like a point guard.”

Jackson chose to join the Aztecs after talking with coach Brian Peabody through another coach at the University of Fairbanks.

Peabody recruited Jackson via a phone call and gave him a couple weeks to decide if he wanted to commit to being an Aztec.

After considering some other possible destinations such as the University of Alaska-Anchorage and Eastern Arizona, Jackson was fully committed to making Tucson his home for the next two years.

Despite the major differences between Tucson and Anchorage, Jackson took little time to get acclimated.

Jackson enjoys his time here, from the unique scenery and landscapes to the Mexican food.

“Every place just has its own vibe and Tucson just has its own little thing to it. It’s really cool here,” said Jackson. “There is a lot of Mexican food (in Alaska) but it’s not authentic. It’s not like out here where you can just walk up to those stands and get authentic Mexican food.”

Jackson hopes to continue playing basketball at a Division I program, preferably as a Tarheel at North Carolina. He is not being recruited by the Tarheels. It is his favorite college basketball program.

Pima was supposed to begin conference play last Wednesday at the West Campus Gym against Scottsdale Community College, but that game was postponed to Jan. 31 because of COVID-19 protocol within Scottsdale’s program.

Pima has not been responsible for a postponement so far this season.

Jackson credits this accomplishment with staying responsible and healthy during an unusual era in sports.

“I would say making smart decisions, just being responsible, wearing the mask, not doing anything dumb,” Jackson continued. “(Also), not going to a bunch of parties with a bunch of random people. That’s probably the worst thing you could do.”

The Aztecs will host Cochise College on Wednesday. Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.

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