Lakeem Jackson is a 25 year old 196cm forward from Charlotte, North Carolina that will play his third professional season and first in Germany with German Pro A team RheinStars. He played his first two professional seasons with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL). He started his basketball career in 2009 with South Carolina(NCAA) where he played a total of 120 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 7.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 33.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after the big win against the Gladiators Trier.
Congrats Lakeem on a big 80-76 win against the Gladiators Trier. Does one go out and celebrate out on the town after being 2-0 or is one still a bit reserved about the quick start in Cologne?
Thanks so much, we played hard all the way until the last buzzer sounded. But we aren’t satisfied with being 2-0, so no we aren’t celebrating. We have a quick game on Sunday on the road that we need to prepare for tomorrow.
The RheinStars controlled the game for the most part except for letting Trier get closer in the fourth quarter. What do you believe was the biggest strength on the night of the Cologne team?
I think our biggest strength tonight was how well we shot the ball. As you know they got more offensive rebound then we did and we didn’t really shoot it well from the FT line, but we executed plays and made shots.
The RheinStars already have displayed a knack of having strong nerves early in the season. How much credit does the shaping of this belong to the veterans on the team?
The veterans play a major role in that aspect of our team, but I also think our preseason preparation played a big part as well. We went up against some great teams and we fought hard every game.
In the first two games the big four of you, David Downs, Aaron Jones and Alex Foster have combined for 125 points of the teams total 158 points. Everything is fine now but god forbid an injury or and off day by one or two players then the outcome may look different. How risky is this massive production coming from only four players?
We all share a majority of the minutes and we also share the ball as a team. Our bench is well prepared for anything. Every one of my teammates have practiced hard just like the next player, so I think everyone is prepared to play their role at any time.
How happy have you been with your start in the Pro A? Last week you were Eurobasket Pro A player of the week with a 16 and 19 game and tonight had 20 points. Is this league above what you saw in Slovakia?
So far it’s been fun. Honestly the leagues are totally different. I believe the ProA is a little more physical and slower paced than the SBL in Slovakia. Both are really good leagues and I enjoyed my time in Slovakia and I’m looking forward to seeing what this season has in store for me and my teammates.
Where do you rate your 19 rebound effort from last week in your alltime best rebounding games in your career?
That’s a tough one. I’ve had some really good rebounding games over the last few years. But with just the rebounding category alone, it’s the best so far.
Did Aaron Jones buy you dinner after that performance? How vital will your rebounding be this season for the success of the team?
No he didn’t. We both challenged each other to go after every rebound that game. That’s one thing we have to do the entire season is produce solid figures in the rebounding category. It’s all effort.
You next play against Chemnitz on the road in 48 hours who are 1-1. What is always the toughest for a team when it has to be on the floor again in 48 hours?
I think the toughest task for a team in this situation would probably be staying disciplined as far as getting the proper rest and also taking care of your body. It’s a quick turnaround so guys will have to refuel their bodies and hydrate properly. As far as basketball goes, everyone will be ready to go.
The RheinStars played some tough BBL teams in pre-season and now have come into their own in the Pro A. In what areas do you feel has the team made the biggest strides in the last two weeks?
Yes, like I said before, we matched up against some tough BBL teams in preseason that helped us learn a lot about ourselves as a team. These last two weeks of preparation have been crucial for us. I think we’ve all been very focused as to what our coaches have been telling us in order to prepare for our opponents.
Derrick Rose is injured again. Is there a curse on this guy? How can a guy have so much misfortune and get injured so much?
It’s sad to see so many bad things happen to such a talented player like Derrick Rose. But I’m sure he is not going to let anything stop him from getting back on the floor soon. Everyone goes through tough times, Hopefully he can remain positive and come back strong.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was The Butterfly Effect with Ashton Kutcher.
Thanks Lakeem for the chat.