Baylor's void was Pierre Jackson's opportunity. An opportunity the 5-foot-10 College of Southern Idaho sophomore guard can't wait to seize.
"I see a good future in my next two years there at Baylor," said Jackson, who verbally committed to play for the Bears late Sunday night. "(We can) get it done, keep the winning going. We've got the pieces, hopefully I'll just be the last piece they needed."
The other pieces on Baylor's roster are a big reason Jackson chose the Bears over Creighton. He visited Creighton's campus in Omaha, Neb., last Thursday before heading to Waco, Texas, where he quickly meshed with Baylor's players.
"What Baylor has coming back next year - the front line is crazy," said Jackson. "... They got a couple NBA-caliber front-line players and they've got a couple freshmen coming in that are NBA caliber already on a couple mock drafts."
One of the big guys Jackson is eager to complement is 6-foot-11 Perry Jones, who announced Monday he'll return to Baylor for his sophomore season after averaging 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds as a freshman. Quincy Acy, a 6-7 power forward, averaged 12.4 points and 7.6 boards for an 18-13 Baylor squad that finished eighth in the Big 12.
"They're a cool bunch. And the coaching staff, I got along with them," said Jackson, who called Baylor head coach Scott Drew "a cool dude."
While Drew's team has a bevy of talent up front, it was seeking a guard like Jackson to round things out.
"Baylor needed a point guard pretty bad last year," said Jackson, who averaged a team-high 18.6 points to go with 4.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals in leading CSI (33-4) to the NJCAA national title. "I guess I was the perfect guard for that situation."
Drew can't comment on Jackson until he signs an NCAA Letter of Intent with the school, something the CSI standout said he'll do as early as Wednesday when the late signing period begins.
Jackson said he didn't seriously consider schools other than Creighton and Baylor. While he liked Creighton, he said "Baylor's in a bigger and better conference, more competition, more exposure."
It's a great fit, according to CSI head coach Steve Gosar.
"I'm very happy for him and Baylor," Gosar told the Times-News in a text message. "He has worked extremely hard for this opportunity. I hope his two years at Baylor are as good as his two years at CSI."
• CSI sophomore center Kenny Buckner plans to officially sign with Boise State on Wednesday, joining Jackson in a signing ceremony.
• CSI guards Darius Smith and Issiah Grayson are still in the process of taking recruiting trips, with Smith recently returning from a visit to Eastern Illinois.
• While CSI freshman forward Mitch Bruneel could return next season, he is looking at several four-year programs, taking trips to Boise State and Utah State.