Syracuse's Jackson hoping to stay in Philly


Friday, June 3, 2011
Posted: 5:35 p.m.

By Dei Lynam

After a solid four-year career at Syracuse that culminated in him leading the Big East in rebounding, field goal percentage and blocked shots as a senior, Rick Jackson is ready to test the NBA waters.

Projected as a late second-round selection, Jackson, a 6-foot-9 power forward, is hoping his attendance at the Chicago pre-draft combine a couple weeks ago impressed NBA general managers and coaches alike with his maturity.

I think the experience that I have is going to be big being a guy that stayed in college four years, said Jackson, a Philadelphia native. I think I will be given the benefit of the doubt because a lot of these guys are younger and experience I think always wins.

Actually, experience in the NBA draft doesnt always win. Four-year college players are a rarity, and the trend for NBA brass seems to value potential over proof. If Jackson ends up sitting longer then anticipated to hear his name called, it wont be his first basketball disappointment.

Jackson was not named to the Big East First Team this past season, but he did receive the leagues Defensive Player of the Year award. It seemed crazy that the two didnt go hand in hand.

I am going to sell my defense because I was the Defensive Player of the Year in my conference. That should help me out a lot, Jackson stressed. I think as far as me getting bettermy offense, me shooting the ballbut I do think scouts believe in me and believe in my game.

Jackson honed his basketball skills at Neumann-Goretti High School. He grew up admiring the Sixers and the last superstar the franchise possessedAllen Iverson.

Iversonthats all the memories, Jackson recalled. I would go to the games and watch Iverson do whatever he wanted out there. It would be nice to be home in Philly, but I will go wherever I can go.

Jackson is cognizant that the Sixers are looking to bolster their front line and admits hearing his name called by them would be icing on the cake. He is one of six players scheduled to work out for the Sixers Saturday morning.

It would mean a lot, he said. Being from there I think I would go out there and play hard anywhere, but just being home and having a home crowd and everybody is coming to see youthat home atmosphere, there is nothing like it.

The NBA draft will take place on June 23. It moves from Madison Square Garden to the Prudential Center in Newark N.J. Sixty young men will hear their names called that night, and the Sixers have picks 16 and 50.

E-mail Dei Lynam at

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