The SFSU forwards mission goes far beyond basketball

Basketball coach Jamie Adams was working on his second week with Breyon Jackson when he noticed that his new client’s 2012 Hyundai Tucson was crowded with clothes.

“Hey, man,” Adams recalled saying to Jackson – a former Long Beach State player – after a workout last spring. “Do you live in your car?”

Jackson nodded and then told Adams how he became unemployed and homeless: the mental health challenges exacerbated by the deaths of several loved ones; the economic burden of ping-pong across the country; the pursuit of yet another full-time scholarship. Although Jackson knew it was unlikely he would return to Division I level, he wanted an end to his college basketball dream.

Now a 23-year-old junior at San Francisco State, he is a central rotation player for the Division II Gators – a 6-foot-7, 215-pound striker who defends all five positions, knocks down jumpers and dives for loose balls. Head coach Vince Inglima imagines Jackson flourishing up to a selection at all conferences and receiving offers from pro teams abroad.

Although Jackson plans to play for as long as he can, his ultimate goal is to be an advocate for mental health. He is great in international relations and hopes to get a job at the NBA where he teaches young children in underprivileged areas that it is OK to ask for help.

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