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Marcus Jackson, a 6-foot-8-in, 240-pound forward, transferred to Marquette in May. He spent the previous two years at South Plains Junior College in Levelland, Texas.

Last season he averaged 7.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, shot 62.1 percent from the floor and blocked 55 shots. Jackson led his team to a 31-4 record and a national ranking among the nation's top junior colleges. He also started in 34 of the team's 35 games.

Crean is looking forward to having Jackson on his team.

"We are excited to get somebody of Marcus Jackson's ability and character at this point of the year," Crean said. "He has toughness, can defend different positions and players and has shown that he can be an excellent rebounder. The number one attribute that I like about him is his ability to win."

"His personality, character, and competitive nature will help him fit in here."

Assistant coach Kyle Green described Jackson as an "athletic, defensive-minded player that rebounds and plays extremely aggressively on the defensive end of the court. He's like Dennis Rodman or (former South Plains player and current NBA player) Bo Outlaw. He can defend anybody on the floor in any position."

Green said that Jackson's personal character, both on and off the court, will also be an asset.

"He'll be a great team player," Green said. "He's definitely what a coach wants in the locker room."

Green believes that Jackson will have no trouble adjusting to the higher level of competition he'll face at a Division I school like Marquette.

"I think he'll do well," he said. Jackson has "got such a great desire to be a success … whatever environment he steps into, be it in the weight room, practice, or a game, he'll excel. He is a special person."

Jackson came close to never signing with the Golden Eagles. Without several twists of fate, he would currently be at the University of Georgia, preparing to play for the Bulldogs.

Last fall, Jackson signed a letter of intent to attend Georgia and play under then-head coach Jim Harrick Sr. That all changed when revelations were made about Harrick's ethically questionable coaching practices. The coach was suspended and later resigned, and the school allowed several of his recruits for the 2003-2004 season, including Jackson, to back out of their letters of intent if they so desired.

After he was freed from his commitment to Georgia, several schools expressed interest in Jackson. According to Green, those schools included Nebraska, Florida, and Marquette, with Crean and the Golden Eagles eventually coming out on top.

Crean used the basketball scholarship made available by Dwyane Wade's exit to entice Jackson. Jackson's signing means the team has used up all of its scholarships for the 2003-2004 recruiting class.

The Golden Eagles expanded further in July, receiving a verbal commitment from Mike Kinsella, a 7-foot, 252-pound center from Rochester, Minn., to attend Marquette during the 2004-2005 school year. Kinsella, a top prospect out of John Marshall High School in Rochester, spent last year at Rice University in Houston, but never played a game for the Owls due to a stress fracture injury in his right foot which he suffered early in the year. He returned to full health around Christmas, but was red-shirted for the rest of the season.

Because of the NCAA rule requiring transfers from Division I programs to sit out for a year after their transfer, Kinsella will attend Minneapolis Community and Technical College this year before coming to Marquette for the 2004-2005 season.

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