It will likely play out that former Mountain State point guard Adrian Jackson will never be a professional athlete.

That’s OK, though. He didn’t really have the right attitude.

Jackson, who was, in my opinion, the most important cog in MSU’s 2004 NAIA national championship, was talking about his latest gig, as a member of the Athletes in Action all-star touring team.

It is a non-paying job.

“But there are other things that are more important than money,” Jackson said.

That statement would come off as sacrilegious and blasphemous in the world of professional sports.

Jackson, though, is anything but.

Athletes in Action is a Christian-based organization. And Jackson is a man of devout Christian beliefs. That’s why his cell phone answering machine is Jackson reading scripture.

“I’ll probably play a lot, but the main thing is doing God’s work,” Jackson said of the tour, which will take him through Chicago, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Ohio and finally to Canada for five games that will end the tour Nov. 5.

“The game is important. But more importantly it gives us a chance to talk the gospel with players. And we’ll also be going to elementary schools and giving clinics.”

Anybody who saw Jackson in Kansas City when the Cougars made an appearance at a local elementary school there knows Jackson is in his element in that situation. So impressed was that school that it asked the Cougars to come back last year. And Jackson, as he was on the court, was a big reason why.

In fact, it was in Kansas City when Jackson found out about Athletes in Action.

“I met the guy running Athletes in Action through (MSU) coach (Bob) Bolen,” said Jackson, who served as a graduate assistant at MSU last season. “He didn’t just send me a business card, he came to meet me personally. He asked me about my life, a couple questions and asked if I’d be interested. A chance to mix basketball with God’s word was the perfect opportunity for me.”

Jackson will leave North Carolina, where he has been training, for Ohio, where he’ll be based, today.

After the tour concludes, he is heading back to his native Pompano Beach, Fla., where he’ll be as assistant basketball coach at his old high school, Ely.

It was there he discovered he had a knack for recruiting. After all, he talked Zach Moss, a linebacker in the gridiron hotbed that is Florida, into playing basketball. Moss, it turned out, was one of the all-time greats at MSU and was the 2004 NAIA Player of the Year.

Jackson, it turns out, was long-rumored to be an assistant under Melvin Randall at Ely.

“People were calling me when I was in school telling me they heard I was going to be a coach (at Ely),” said Jackson, who during summers would coach the team in summer leagues in Florida. “That’s something that always appealed to me. I guess they saw something before I even knew.”

He hasn’t necessarily given up on playing professionally, although that dream does seem to be fading.

“I want to play, but I’ve done my share of playing basketball, so if I don’t do anything beyond this tour, that’s OK,” Jackson said. “I had a good career (he is MSU’s all-time leader is assists). I got an education. I got to see a lot of different things. If I don’t play again, so be it.”

Maybe not a professional athlete’s attitude. In fact, it’s refreshing.

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