It’s not the flashiest of nicknames, but Shayne Jackson definitely earned the moniker “Mr. Consistency” after his fourth-straight season of 75 points or more, 30+ goals, and his third-straight season collecting exactly 75 loose balls.
Given how the Swarm struggled to gain traction at the start of the season, Jackson’s ability to steadily produce offensively despite the team’s trials was a bright beacon shining for others to follow. Even when he felt he wasn’t doing his best, the Swarm assistant captain kept level and professional.
“There were definitely spots in the year which he wanted back, where he wants to be better,” Swarm assistant coach Dan Ladouceur said, “and I think that’s a good sign for a leader who wants to be better personally, and then have the team mirror his efforts in the need to be better. He was good for us, and I know he wants to be better for us, too.”
As consistent as Jackson has been, it doesn’t mean he isn’t improving. The Limestone University alum set a new career-high in assists with 52 and points with 85. Jackson has lowered his turnover numbers every season since he set a marker of 50 in 2015. That number has shrunk each season to the 35 he hit in 2017-18.
One can’t ignore how Jackson has never missed a game in his career. Jackson eclipsed his 100th career game this season, and that helped him surpass 400 career points and 400 loose balls. He’s one of the toughest, most hardworking, and most dedicated people in lacrosse you will meet.
One pleasure this season has been seeing how Jackson and Jesse King, returning from injury after missing the entire 2017 season, have worked together as a dangerous pick and roll pair. Too often during games would fans be struck by a feeling of déjà vu as the two would set picks and pass to one another, opening up the defense and striking accordingly.
Jackson shows no signs of slowing down, and having that dangerous weapon on the left side allows others to get open and take advantage of defenses focusing on Jackson. Even then, it’s not always enough given how Jackson just works his way inside.
“When he plays with speed, he’s very dangerous,” Ladouceur said. “His first step and his ability to cut and get open and find and catch the ball in tight spaces, just need him to keep doing that. That’s all.”
Best Game of the Season:
Jackson waiting in the wings | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
Jackson hit nine points in a game twice in 2017-18. The first time, however, was easily the better game as Jackson displayed all the skills he has in full force.
On January 13, the Swarm was visiting Scotiabank Saddledome to take on the Calgary Roughnecks. The Swarm had not won in the Roughnecks’ barn since 2012. In the third quarter, the visitors found themselves down 9-6. The game had been close for a while, but Calgary pulled ahead in the second quarter and managed a three-goal lead. Georgia was floundering, and it looked like the Swarm would keep the losing streak alive.
Then Jackson scored a crazy goal that sparked a comeback. Wheels turning, he had received a check from Curtis Manning as he was trying to run inside and had to cut to avoid Mitch Wilde. That check and cut caused Jackson to start to fall forward, but the forward used that momentum to stretch out and get a shot off a foot from the ground.
That began a six-goal run which allowed the Swarm to turn the tide and win in Alberta for the first time since 2012.
Jackson also scored three other goals that night while handing out five assists. Scrappy, tough, dangerous, and excellent floor vision. Mr. Consistency in a nutshell.
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