As reported on March 30, BC star junior point guard Reggie Jackson has declared for the NBA draft. Coming off an All-ACC first team performance, Jackson hopes to be the first Eagle drafted since Sean Williams and Jared Dudley were mid-first round selections in 2007. However, Jackson has still not hired an agent, meaning he could potentially withdraw his name from the draft and come back for his senior season. Gavel Media sat down with Reggie for an interview as the May 8 deadline for withdrawal approaches.
Gavel Media: How did you come to the decision to declare for the NBA draft?
Reggie Jackson: I just talked with my coach. My brother’s been a great advisor for me. Basically went from there, thought it was a good decision after talking and seeing where I stand in the mock drafts.
GM: How much did giving up your senior season and the chance to graduate with your class, along with BC’s reputation for not having athletes leave early factor into your decision?
RJ: Not at all. My class, we really don’t have many seniors [on the basketball team] anyway. We’re not even completely sure there’s going to be a senior class next season, we’re still seeing what’s happening. Felt like it was a great opportunity for me to leap this year. We thought it would be good for me to put my name in.
GM: How much did the make-up of next year’s Eagles roster influence your decision?
RJ: Not at all. A lot of people thought this past team was gonna be unsuccessful, and you see how we did with that. Of course, it’s gonna be freshman heavy but if they come in with the right mindset, they could make some noise. So no factor really came into my decision from who’s gonna be here and who’s not.
GM: Regarding this past season, did you exceed your own expectations, individually and as a team, or did you not meet your goals?
RJ: At the end of last year, I told Andy Katz that this past team was possible Final Four. After seeing what VCU did, they do things similar to us, shoot a lot of outside shots. It’s obviously about getting hot at the right time, though. I still believe we just fell short. We didn’t even get a chance to get in the tournament due to our lack of success in the regular season, which very much disappointed me. But I didn’t really exceed expectations for myself. I just wanna come out and compete everyday. I feel like my teammates, along with the coach and myself, we all knew what I was capable of. People see it as a breakout year; I guess you could say that. Still came up short, in getting my team where I wanted to be. It was a step in the right direction with success this year, but in my eyes we fell short of where we thought we could be and where we wanted to be.
GM: With this potentially being your final year, was it more disappointing not getting into the tournament compared with last year? With the way VCU and Butler played, do you think you could have made a deep run?
RJ: Definitely, very disappointing, not even just because this might be my last year. Last year, we didn’t have to go and sit in the locker room as a team for selection Sunday; everyone knew what the outcome was. We had no chance of making it into the tournament. Feeling like you deserve a bid, but knowing… moral victories help, I guess, and losing close games and maybe racking up one more win somewhere, we would’ve been in, and maybe made some noise like some other teams. I believe this year was saltier to me than my sophomore season.
GM: Looking back at your career at BC, what’s the one thing that you’re most proud of?
RJ: I’m proud of how we finished every year. I feel like nobody’s hanging their head. In the years I’ve been here, we never quit; we always battle to the end. On the scoreboard we may be out of it, down by 30. I feel like we played every game as hard as we can, sometimes not as intelligently as we can. But that’s what I remember from my three years with these guys, especially the seniors. Battling everyday between the lines. That’s what I’m gonna miss most about them and miss about this program in general if I don’t come back next year.
GM: Since you first declared, have you become more or less likely to withdraw your name before the deadline?
RJ: I don’t have any feedback yet, so I’m just in right now. I guess 50-50.
GM: Where do you expect to get drafted if you do go in, and what role do you see yourself immediately playing in the NBA?
RJ: I’m not a GM, I’m not an owner, so that’s up to them to determine. I’ve always been a confident person, I feel like I can play with the best of them. The speed’s a lot different, give me a few games to adjust and I feel like I can really make some noise. That’s not up to me, like I said. I’m not the GM or the owner. I hope one day I play in the NBA and hope to be successful.
GM: Did you have a favorite team growing up?
RJ: Chicago Bulls. Everybody says I’m from Colorado. I’m not from anywhere. I moved around a lot, I have no ties to any city. The Bulls, I just always loved them and the Portland Trailblazers. Those have always been my two teams.
GM: If you do leave, whom of the remaining players on the BC roster do you expect to step up and take a leadership role?
RJ: That’s up to them. Everyone’s gonna have to step up and do their part. Someone’s gonna have to step up as a leader, and mature very quickly because this is a young team. I can’t really pass that role down to anybody. I believe that leaders are born but they also stand up and self-appoint themselves. That’s up to them. Only those guys know who’s gonna be the leader, and only the man who’s gonna be leader knows he’s gonna be so. He has to self-appoint himself if that’s what he wants to do. It’s gonna be a hard task, always first one in, last one out. Play tough everyday no matter the circumstances outside of basketball. It’s very difficult, but I believe you have some guys who are capable. They just have to step up and do it.
GM: If you do return next season, what are your main goals?
RJ: Ever since I came in, I always wanted to be the last team standing. Always wanted to win my last game. If I do come back next year, that’ll be my senior season, so I hope to win my last game of my senior season, which means I’ll be playing April.
GM: If you don’t come back next season, is there anything you wanna say to the BC community before you leave?
RJ: Thank you for everything, thank you for the opportunity. For the scholarship, for the support. I really haven’t gotten any negative feedback about my decision to enter the draft, and I very much appreciate it. I just thank them for everything they’ve done. I know I’m truly blessed with the opportunity to play here. They will be missed.