Parker Jackson-Cartwright (176-PG-95, college: Arizona) is a 26 year old 176cm point guard from Los Angeles, California playing his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He played at the University of Arizona (NCAA) from 2014-2018 reaching the NCAA Elite 8 and two NCAA Sweet 16’sand winning three Pac 12 tournaments. He played his rookie season for the G-League team Westchester Knicks and then came overseas playing for the Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) and last season for the Saint-Quentin Basket-Ball (France-ProB) playing 33 games averaging 15.6ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-1 (7.1apg), Steals-1 (2.4spg), FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 77.1%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after guiding the Telekom Baskets Bonn to a very impressive opening season 88-86 win over Alba Berlin
Congrats on a great 88-86 win over 2021 easyCredit BBL champion Alba Berlin. How did it feel for you personally winning your first game on the road against the defending champion?
We knew going in that it would be a difficult game. They have a lot of history. I think that we showed that we can surprise a lot of people. We never stopped fighting, withstood all their runs and showed a lot of character. You can imagine something like this happening but in a way it’s also surreal. It is incredible what kind of leaps and bounds we have taken from pre-season until now. We did make a lot of mistakes last night, but you can’t teach effort. Our preparation and will to win helped us get this big win. We never gave up and stayed together.
Alba Berlin began very well showcasing their offensive arsenal, but the Telekom Baskets Bonn found into the game better in the second quarter. What was key for being able to execute better?
Key for us was taking what they gave us. They are a team that is very traditional in how they make adjustments. They have a smart coach and players that will always switch things up. We were very poised in how we attacked them. At times we were out of control, but important was that we did make shots when we needed to. We locked down on defense and didn’t get away from what we do.
The fourth quarter was really tight and Bonn stepped up their defense. What adjustments did the team make being able to clamp down better on defense?
Key was attention to detail and just sticking to our principles. The way they played fit our mold and players. We locked down more on defense and just played a little harder. We have very versatile players and guys like Tyson Ward and Karsten Tadda made big plays. I got hands on balls as well. Big defensive plays turned our defense into a monster at the end. We picked the right time to do it. Now we have to do it for 40 minutes.
Bonn played their best defense in the last seconds forcing a turnover and then getting another stop. How big was the overall team spirit there to help you get that stop?
Yes our spirit was big. It is easy to panic on the road, but we never did. We were down by 8 points with something like 4 minutes to go and took a time out. Their lead could of easily ballooned to 20. We refocused and were able to stick to our principles. Coach had a lot of trust in us and we just played harder. Staying poised in that moment helped us a lot. We fought very hard and made a few more plays at the end to win.
You have made some massive free throws in your career. How big do you rank those against Alba Berlin?
They weren’t any bigger than others in my career. I think that I did a good job putting my team and myself into good position to win the game. I give a lot of credit to coach and my teammates for giving me trust with the ball. They had a lot of confidence in me. I wasn’t always perfect, but my intent was always good to make the right play.
Alba Berlin was missing three bigs. How much of an effect did that have on their game. Was their outside shooting more predictable and easier to defend?
I wouldn’t say that. They had some injuries and needed to adjust so they went smaller. At times they played four guys on the perimeter. There was so much space. I still think that it played into their favor. They still found ways to find the paint and get us in trouble. They were able to get the ball inside to Sikma and he found ways to spray the ball to shooters. They found a way to adjust without their bigs and did a good job. They were already dangerous like this and will be even more dangerous when the bigs return.
How proud are you of the Bonn guard rotation in general on their effort on containing Smith, Lo, Blatt and Mattissek? What was key for being able to slow these guys down?
The way we play defense, we are able to take them out of rhythm. We like to pressure guards full court and that isn’t easy to do for 40 minutes. A guy like Mo is uber fast. He changes the pace and can be by you in the blink of an eye. I felt we did a good job disrupting him. We weren’t always able to stop him, but we slowed him down well and not let him set up their offense.
What kind of an experience was it for you seeing and battling the great versatile Luke Sikma who filled the stat sheet. Is there anything this guy can’t do?
I knew what type of player he was. The whole league has a lot of respect for him. He is so smart and knows how to set up his team to be successful. He is so solid and you can’t rattle him, but just try to slow him down. There is a reason why he was MVP. You can’t ever fall asleep, because he always makes the right play.
What has been like being teammates with Skyler Bowlin? He is a big time veteran. Can a veteran like you still learn something from his game?
After only two months, I can say that he is already one of my favorite teammates of all-time. I totally mean it. He is really smart and has been around the game for so long. He knows what has to be done on and off the court. I have become a better professional in the first two months because of him. He always gives me guidance and never disappoints me. The whole team trusts him.
You had a very impressive debut having 25/5/6/6 stats. What words of encouragement did brother Miles give you this time?
He told me just to stay focused. I should never get to high or low, because it is a long season. Now teams expect me to play the way I did. Now it gets more challenging. I have to stay grounded and remain hungry. It is a long road. I have to keep working and stay confident. When you play with a chip on your shoulder, good things happen.
You have an amazing first step? Is their danger that teams have you off the radar, but will be able to key in on you better in the second half of the season?
I think this is the way in any other league. There are good coaches everywhere that scout and you play a team twice. That is just the way the game is. I’m not always perfect and need to always push myself to be better. I feel like the sky is the limit for me. I love the challenge. Everybody will push me and I will continue to watch film and see how I can get better. I feel like I could have been 10 to 20 times better against Alba Berlin.
What kind of self-confidence did you win seeing that you were the best player on the court and that a guy like high class player Jaleen Smith who had other Euroleague offers is still searching for his game?
Smith is a good player and will be an important piece for Alba Berlin. You could see glimpses of it last night. I’m battle tested and have been playing at high levels my whole life. This isn’t new for me. I thrive in these situations. I have been under the radar my whole life mainly because I’m small, but I was able to overcome it. I know that there are still people that don’t expect me to play like this and I love it. That is why I can play my best. I’m never surprised.
How big was this win for the self-confidence of the team? Is a win like this dangerous or has coach Iisalo been able to keep the team grounded?
The big question now is how will we move forward from this big win. Coach Iisalo shows up each day with a totally new mindset to attack the day and get better. This was a big win, but we need to look at the long term. We need to be locked in just as much against Ulm the way we against Alba Berlin.
The Telekom Baskets will have no time to rest form top competition as you next face ratiopharm Ulm and Alba Berlin again in a span of four days. Having these back to back challenges must be very exciting for you?
That is the way it is when you play at a high level. I think it isn’t any different if you play against Braunschweig and Ludwigsburg. It’s all the same. You can never relax and need to respect everyone. You have to always be prepared. The next games will be tough, but it will be more about how well we prepare. We will watch film and get better. At game time we will give our best and live with the result
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Parker for the chat.