Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson, a former fourth overall draft pick of the Phoenix Suns in the 2017 NBA draft, plays in his first game as an assignment player from the Memphis Grizzlies for the NBA G League's Memphis Hustle. Jackson and the Hustle opened the season with a 105-95 victory over the Texas Legends on Friday, Nov. 8 at the Landers Center in Southaven. 

Jarrod Uthoff has put together a basketball career experience that includes time in the NBA G League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, NBA time with the Dallas Mavericks, and he has also played professionally in Russia. 

Uthoff has taken his next step in his professional playing career as he started for the Memphis Hustle Friday night, Nov. 8, and led the Hustle to a season-opening 105-95 victory over the Texas Legends at the Landers Center in Southaven.

The former University of Iowa standout scored 23 points and added eight rebounds in the Hustle victory, the first for new head coach Jason March.

A statistic not used as much in basketball, but a stat that indicates the positive or negative impact of a player's action in a game is what is called a plus-minus statistic, which Uthoff also led Memphis at +22.

"I expect the best out of myself every night, I know I'm capable of great things," Uthoff said after the game. "With that said, I think it was a great team effort. We're a tough team to guard and on the defensive end we're very versatile. We're tough to score against."

It was a game the Hustle held control of for most of the contest. There were just three lead changes and one tie before Memphis held a 32-18 lead after one quarter.

Uthoff had 12 of the Hustle's 40 points when Texas took a timeout trailing 40-24 with 5:11 left in the first half, but the Legends rebounded for a 9-0 run to get within 40-33 Hustle with just over two minutes remaining before halftime.

Josh Jackson, the team's assignment player from the Memphis Grizzlies who brings two years of NBA experience with the Phoenix Suns, then came alive to finish the half with 16 points and the Hustle went to the locker room leading 50-39 at intermission.

the 11-point edge became 21 with 2:52 left in the second half, before Texas would get back within five points at 84-79 in the fourth quarter.

But Uthoff and Jackson continued to lead Memphis the rest of the way to a win to open the season.

"It was a very exciting evening here in Southaven and I couldn't be happier for our guys," March said about winning his head coaching debut with the Hustle. "We came out and laid it out there for everyone."

March credited Uthoff for helping the Hustle get off to a fast start.

"He opened the floor for us and made some shots from outside," said March. "What I did was that I wanted to go inside to him because it just opens up our pacing. It all started on the offensive end, for sure."

After Uthoff's 23 points, Jackson finished with 18, and Jon Konchar scored 16. Konchar is one of Memphis' pair of two-way players, along with Yuta Watanabe, who was held to seven points but grabbed 12 rebounds.

Dusty Hannahs, who has played with the Hustle in all three seasons of team history, scored 19 off the bench.

Dakota Mathias led the Legends with 19 points.

SHOOTING FOR 1, 2, or 3: Friday's game marked the first for the Hustle using a new NBA G League rule involving free throws. Each trip to the free throw line limits the shooting player to one free throw. However, with the new rule, a basket from the charity try counts for te number of points connected with the foul. A player fouled in the act of shooting would get two points from a made free throw and three points if fouled in the act of shooting a three-point shot.

LEGENDARY DOUBLE TROUBLE: While the Hustle are affiliated only with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Texas Legends are connected with the Dallas Mavericks, but the Portland Trailblazers also provide the team players. The connection allows the Legends to have two two-way players from both teams for a total of four.

Antonius Cleveland and Josh Reaves are Texas' two-ways from Dallas. Portland has provided the Legends with Jaylen Hoard and Moses Brown. Texas also has former Detroit draft pick Isaiah Roby on assignment from Dallas, which received Roby from the Pistons in a trade.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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