GARY | Linden Jackson heard someone ask a profound question once, and it has been his daily icon ever since.

It has filled his mind with imagination that reaches far above the day-to-day.

It said, "If the sky is the limit, then why are there footprints on the moon?"

The 6-foot senior guard on Bowman Academy's boys basketball team is an artist on and off the court. At the Gary Career Center he did a graphic design entitled, "In the Clouds."

His face is Photoshopped with interesting colors and a beautiful sky behind him with billowing clouds. He won an art contest, and his image was hung in Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

"That saying inspired me," Jackson said. "When I was in kindergarten, someone asked me what I wanted to be. I liked to draw, and I have a creative mind. I really didn't know how big a deal winning the contest was. Everyone told me how important it was.

"Now, I get it. I feel blessed. It means a lot to me now."

On Saturday, Jackson will compete against Linton-Stockton at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Miners surely don't have Jackson high on their scouting report. He averages only 4.1 points a game.

But without this Salvador Dali in Nikes on the team, it's possible the Eagles wouldn't be playing.

"There's no doubt about it. Linden has won some games for us," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said. "He hit a big shot against (Bishop) Noll in the sectional and played some great defense against their shooters.

"He hit some big shots against LaVille in the regional. He is the perfect role player."

His graphic design and "footsteps on the moon" philosophy is what's driving Jackson. This is his first year on varsity, and he is a senior.

He will wait Saturday for when his number is called, and he will go in and do whatever it takes to win.

"I remember the Noll game, and (Matt Sandoval) was hitting shots all over the place in the first half," Jackson said. "I told coach I would stop him; he put me in, and I did.

"Then I hit that big shot. I played a big part in that game."

Jackson drilled a 3-pointer with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter against Noll in the sectional championship game and a three-point lead went to six. The 76-63 win was sparked by Jackson.

This honor student has already been accepted at Indiana State and Vincennes. He is waiting to see if Duke or Ohio State accept him as a student, where he plans to major in graphic design.

But this week it's all about basketball and seeing if indeed the sky is the limit.

"This is the biggest stage I've ever been on," Jackson said. "I want to do whatever it takes to help my team win."

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