Hello Posters and Toasters.
Though I don’t really take to the posting, I enjoy reading your online community. So, I have finally decided to join in.
I graduated from Syracuse University last year and still live there now. This year the Orange’s lone NBA hopeful is the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year Rick Jackson. Now I know Rick isn’t deserving of the 17th pick, but the Knicks could always buy a pick in the second round if Jackson is still hanging around.
Take the jump and learn more!
Richard Kadeem Jackson is a Philadelphia native. He was considered an afterthought to the recruiting process of his Neuman-Goretti High School teammate and fellow SU star Scoop Jardine.
His freshman year he was the fourth best in a four man recruiting class, Johnny Flynn, Donte Green and Jardine all shined brighter than Jackson. It wasn’t until his sophomore year that we finally got to see what Jackson might become. As both a starting 4 and backup 5 Jackson excelled in hustle plays around the basket. The blocks, rebounds and dunks piled up. He also started to develop a nice post game, with a classic back to the basket hook.
There was some concern his junior year when his weight ballooned to 265 but at the coach’s behest Jackson dropped 25 pounds for his senior year. His conditioning, and agility improved but most importantly Jackson looked even stronger at the reduced weight. He was the Orange’s best 5, though he still logged a lot of his time at the 4 due to his athletic ability. At 6’9" 240 pounds with a 7’1" wingspan I feel he is big enough to guard most NBA centers. He should even fill out a little more with age.
Measurements: 6'9", Weight: a chiseled 240, Wingspan: 7’1". No-Step Vertical: 30"
Projected Draft Position (as of right now): Undrafted on NBADraft.net, Undrafted on DraftExpress.com, 46 on Mockdraftmania 63 on ESPN’s big board
Amateur Take-Offense: Jackson averaged a career high 35 minutes and led the Big East Conference in field goal percentage and rebounds by a large margin. A full third of his boards came on the offensive end. He is skilled with the ball in the low post and he has improved his passing out of the double team as his 2.2 assists per game this year shows. He was often the focal point of opposing defenses as a senior and the Orange’s most consistent threat. Guards often missed him on the block and he had a tendency to go quite for stretches but he made up for it with emphatic put backs on offensive rebounds. It was an absolute travesty that the All-Big East team this year didn’t contained Jackson but instead had six guards.
It isn’t all good with Jackson though. He has a major deficiency outside of the post. He has virtually no jump shot, making it near impossible to play the 4 in the NBA. His free throw shooting was nearly historic, in a bad way. He shot 53% from the stripe his senior year after two seasons at 50% and 48%. Though he seems to be a hard worker as evidenced by the weight loss, he hasn’t had much luck improving his shooting in his college career.
Jackson won’t be an offensive force in the NBA but it is not out of the question to think that on a team with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire he should get plenty of looks around the basket where he is best. He finishes well in alley-oop situations and who knows, maybe he even develops a jump shot. To give you an idea, I would already rather have him on offense than any of our post trade centers last year.
Amateur Take-Defense: On the defensive end, Jackson is a smart and active player. His most important skill is his hustle play. He led the Big East in blocks this year despite playing in Jim Boeheim’s zone. Though he hasn’t gotten much run in man defense, I think he has should be at least a decent defender in the pros. He doesn’t have the size to bang with the Dwight Howard/Marc Gasol type centers but really how many of those are there left anymore. While he doesn’t have the outside shot to play the 4 offensively, at the slimmed down weight he has the agility to stay with most NBA 4s on the defensive end giving him some versatility. While his block numbers make him stand out (seven against Rutgers and six against Notre Dame this year), his developed body is what makes him such a good defender. He establishes good position and boxes out well. He has a decent vertical and in his senior year he showed enough motor to bottle up virtually every opposing big man.
Comparison: I think he can eventually be an Al Horford type though that might be giving him too much credit, they do measure the same. Maybe a more offensively confident and athletic Ronny Turiaf is the answer.
The Clyde Factor: There probably isn’t much of one here. How can you fumble such a simple name as Rick Jackson? We could have some fun "Action Jackson" or "Rejection by Jackson" rhyming. Maybe even a Re-Jackson!
Cool Stuff: I’m not really sure how cool it is but Jackson has frequented the same bar scene as me for a few years now. My roommate has seen him, let’s say "mix it up", with a few gentleman before and it did not end in their favor. He already rolls around with quite an entourage. He definitely seems to act the part of a professional athlete.
Let's go to the video:
CitrusTVSports | Rick Jackson Shines in Orange Win Over St. John's 76-59 (via NOWSports28)
Interview after scoring 1000 pts
Jackson goes for 17 points and 16 board against Michigan St. this year
Rick Jackson #00 (via MaruaderPride13)
A highlight reel from Jackson's early years, some nice passes by Andy Rautins in there.
Things to Take Away:
He can dunk pretty well, generally just finishes inside very well
He has a good feel for being in the right place at the right time for rebounds and help defense.
Interviews pretty well
Has been in big moments at MSG for 4 years already
Final Thoughts: Rick Jackson was the fifth player in Syracuse history to record 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 200 blocked shots. We all know the Knicks need more size up front. Aside from Amare and Turiaf’s occasional bouts of health there wasn’t much of an inside presence. Jackson has had four years of college experience under the tutelage of legendary big man coach Bernie Fine. He has enough polish in his low post game on both ends of the floor to become a consistent role player and should be able to contribute immediately. His draft stock was higher at season’s end and he has performed decently by all accounts at the pre-draft camps but his position on recent mock drafts has fallen. If the Knicks can buy a pick in the second round, I would be happy to continue watching Rick in an orange (and blue) uniform.
On a separate issue, I was very disappointed in Andy Rautins’ rookie year. He was a tremendous shooter and the smartest player I have seen at Syracuse. Because of that I thought he could develop enough ball handling skills to be a backup point in the NBA. His shot would be deadly in the pick and roll and his activity on defense would be a good asset to the second unit. Hopefully he still can develop in to a good rotation player.