The 2011 NBA Draft came and went and Rick Jackson’s name was never called. I was there to watch and support my NBA squad - the Celtics - and cheer on Jackson when he was picked. Unfortunately, he never was.
However, in the latter part of the second round, some - we’ll call them “iffy”- players were drafted. Commentators laughed, surprised at the picks, and fans sat speechless. The fans didn’t know whether to cheer or boo because they most likely had never heard of the players before.
It wasn’t a totally bad night for me, though. I met and shared and elevator with Syracuse great Derrick Coleman, snuck down into the tunnel to take pictures of the players, saw Fran Fraschilla in the bathroom and had a good time with my friends.
Anyway, here are some of those “iffy” players that were selected over Jackson:
Targuy Ngombo - Dallas Mavericks (57) - The best player in the Qatar basketball league. That’s like being the coolest kid at Georgetown - not so cool. Never mind that he lied about his age and the spelling of his name. Quite possibly the strangest NBA Draft selection ever.
Chukwudiebere Maduabum - LA Lakers (56) - Well, Maduabum averaged 0.7 points per game and 0.3 rebounds per game while playing for the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA D-League. Need I say more?
Ater Majok - LA Lakers (58) - Majok, originally from Sudan, actually played in the Big East for Uconn in the 2009-2010 season. After putting up an astounding 2.3 points per game, Majok left the program to play in Australia. He went from scoring 2.3 points per game, to being drafted by the Lakers. Something there seems off.
Lavoy Allen - Philadelphia 76er’s (50) - I live in the same town as Allen and have seen him play many times. He is a good rebounder and nice kid, but I can’t remember him once dominating a game. Quite simply, he isn’t the complete player that Jackson is. Not to mention, he’s Charmin soft.
Josh Harrellson - NY Knicks (45) - He averaged 1.3 ppg and 1.2 rebounds per game as a junior. I love the fight in this kid and how far he’s progressed - he did have a nice senior year - but at 6’10”, he’s too slow to guard NBA power forwards and not lanky enough to guard centers.
Now, I’m not saying Rick Jackson is a future NBA All-Star because, sorry Cuse fans, he’s not. He’s a tweener in the NBA and has no offensive game outside of the paint, let alone the perimeter. He’s not quick and in the post, he is slow and deliberate. Also, because of his lack of bounce and motor, Jackson doesn’t have a high ceiling.
But in the NBA, if you are really good at one skill, you can be successful. And Jackson was arguably the best rebounder in college basketball this season. Jackson averaged over 10 rebounds per game. He’s no slouch on offense either. Jackson scored 13 PPG, while shooting an impressive 59% from the field.
As Rick Jackson tweeted, “Men lie, women lie, but NUMBERS DON’T.”
The journey isn’t over for Jackson. If the NBA lockout is resolved, he’ll most likely get invited to play on a summer league team. If not, Jackson will have a chance to play overseas.
Whether he achieves his ultimate dream or plays overseas, Cuse nation will be behind Rick Jackson.
And those teams that passed over Jackson to pick the coolest kid at Georgetown or Uconn’s leftovers, watch out. No seriously, watch out.
“I'm going to make a team! And when I do all the teams that didn't want me when I see u imma cut u a new A******!,” Jackson tweeted.