Special Report: Student-Athlete

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“When Jackson Lamb gets hot, he might be the most fun player to watch in all of college basketball.”

Lamb had two of the top four highest scoring games in the NAIA this season. One in the Chargers’ season opener against Graceland, when he scored 49 in a double overtime win, and the other coming on January 29th, when he scored a career high 54 in a road win over Mount Marty.

“I just try to get out of the way, and not screw it up,” said Chargers head coach Mark Svagera.

That kind of production doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a result of the preparation Jackson puts into everything he does.

“I come in and shoot on the gun for 30 minutes and probably make 150 to 200 threes,” said Lamb.

But Jackson’s preparation skills don’t just apply to basketball. Lamb is also one of the Chargers most accomplished in the classroom.

”You’ve got to do what you love to do, and I love to play basketball, and I love to study,” said Lamb.

Lamb was named 2019’s Emil S Liston award winner, which goes to the nation’s best student-athletes for their numbers on and off the court.

“You’re talking about 250-some NAIA basketball programs, and there’s one winner for that,” said Svagera. “And to even be nominated you have to be above a 3.75 student, and you have to be a really good basketball player.”

Jackson says his focus on his studies stems from a talk with his coaches his freshman year.

“He said I want you guys here for your athletic talent, but academics are more important,” said Lamb. “And he told me that and I took it to heart. You’ve got to work hard on the court, but it takes time in the library, time to yourself studying, and time to really hone your craft.”

“At this level, I think it’s of the utmost importance because we’re not producing NBA players at Briar Cliff,” said Svagera. “We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help prepare these guys for life after basketball.”

But trying to balance school work, while still being a top five scorer in the country isn’t easy. It takes plenty of time, and for Jackson, a strategic living set up.

“I actually live on campus still,” said Jackson.”I’m literally like a minute walk from the gyms, and I knew I wanted to spend a lot of time there, and I’m like a minute walk from the library.”

And that time he saves doesn’t go to waste.

“I’ll spend some time in the library. Being a biology major it takes an hour for class, then for each hour of class I’m in the library about two hours probably. And then when you have a lab, a lot of classes you have a lab with, you have to find time to get into the lab, understand what we’re doing there, catching up with it, and just keep on being prepared for everything.” 

While Lamb’s preparedness in his studies have his life after graduation looking great, nothing could have prepared him for a thumb injury before his final game that left him unable to play on Senior Day, and now Jackson officially turns his attention to his post basketball career.

“I knew from when I was really young that I wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level,” said Lamb. “And I think I also knew when I was very young that I wanted to help people out. Then just through connections and doing some research I found out what a physician’s assistant was, what it entails, and that’s kind of what I’m going for, and that’s my dream.”

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