Unlike many collegiate basketball players, Uwone Jackson never mentions the professional ranks as an ultimate goal.
The Pasadena resident knows all too well about the broken dreams of many athletes. That's why he has chosen to stick to the straight and narrow -- using basketball as the means to an education.
Jackson was a 1985 Anne Arundel County Sun All-County and ABC League/Independent Player of the Year at Northeast High and a two-year starter at Anne Arundel Community College. He's heading into his finalseason of eligibility at Glenville State College -- a small NationalAssociation for Intercollegiate Athletics school in Glenville, W.Va.-- and is three semesters shy of a bachelor's degree in sports management.
The 6-foot-2 swingman also is prepping his hoop skills withHunt's Movers of the Annapolis Men's Summer Basketball League, whilehoning his career skills as a salesman at Fan Fair, a sporting goodsstore at Marley Station. He had been an assistant manager at Fan Fair for three years while a part-time student at Anne Arundel.
"I'vealways been interested in sports," said Jackson, 24. "Eventually, I hope to run my own sporting goods store."
Following his sophomore season at Anne Arundel, Jackson appeared headed to Division III Salisbury State University but backed out at the last minute.
"After a while, I just realized that I wasn't quite ready to continue school,"he said. "I just wanted to take some time off and work."
While playing for Hunt's last season, Jackson caught the eye of former Chesapeake College coach Lynn Ramarge, who had coached against Glenville State mentor Gary Nottingham at West Liberty College. Ramarge talked Jackson into attending Glenville, whose roster included a former Northeast teammate, John McKinley.
"It took me the whole summer to finally make my decision, but I'm glad I made the right choice. I really like it down there. It's a nice atmosphere, and you really can't get into any trouble down there. But I've always been one to stay out of trouble anyway," said Jackson.
Glenville, a state institution of about 2,300 students, competes in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Conference, a league made up of 14 colleges, including Alderson-Broaddus, the University of Charleston and West Virginia State (the 1987 NAIAnational finalists).
While these colleges aren't exactly mentioned in the same breath as UNLV and Duke, the competition isn't as soft as some might expect.
"It may not be a Division I-type league, butI think there are some legitimate Division I players," said Jackson.
Current Northeast coach John Barbour is among those who thought Jackson could have made the grade in Division I.
"I was surprised that he didn't get any (Division I) offers, especially after two good years at Anne Arundel," said Barbour.
Jackson averaged 10 points agame his freshman year and 15 during his sophomore campaign.
"I think one of the things that scared a lot of people away from him after high school was his grades," Barbour said.
Nottingham said, "Uwone is just a quality young man. He takes care of business both on andoff the court. He has the respect of everyone on the team.
"We'regoing to be expecting a lot from him this year, being one of three seniors. I think he's going to do a lot for us. He's a good shooter, and a very good rebounder for his size."
Last season, Jackson posted averages of 13 points (including a career-high 31 against St. Vincent College), five rebounds and three assists per game for a 15-15 club -- despite playing through back spasms late in the season.
At Glenville, Jackson has maintained a solid 2.58 average in 78 credit hours (48 from Anne Arundel). At his present pace, he will earn his degree by the end of the fall 1992 semester.
The lanky physical education major credits his present study habits to his misfortune during his senior year at Northeast.
"It really hurt when I couldn't play during the first part (six games) of the season," he said. "But I worked hard to get back on the team. That experience showed me that school is the most important thing and sports is secondary."
Jackson led a team composed mainly of first-year varsity players to a 12-11 season, after an 0-6 start.
He averaged a team-high 18.6 points per game in his only varsity season. He wasn't allowed to play during hisfreshman and sophomore years due to an irregular heartbeat -- which he says he "outgrew" -- and spent his junior year playing for an EastGlen Burnie recreational squad.
After the 1991-1992 season, Jackson plans to finish the remainder of his classes while serving as a student assistant coach. It's a job Barbour thinks will suit him perfectly.
"Back in the summer of '89, I asked Uwone to take a bunch of players from a team that went 5-17 the winter before up to a team camp at the University of Delaware," Barbour said. "He wound up doing anexcellent job.
"I think it was a good experience for him, and he has the potential to be a very good coach simply because he just enjoys the game."