Checking in with Daily Thunder’s Royce Young on Reggie Jackson

March 23, 2012

Alex Trautwig/ Heights Senior Staff

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/ Heights Senior Staff)

By Austin Tedesco, Asst. Sports Editor

Last year, former Boston College guard Reggie Jackson was taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder as the 24th pick in the NBA Draft. When Eric Maynor, the Thunder’s backup point guard, went down early in the year, Jackson got an opportunity to log some important minutes for OKC. The Heights checked in with Daily Thunder’s Royce Young on how Jackson has been doing this season, and how the Thunder’s recent addition of Derek Fisher will affect him.

The Heights: What were your initial thoughts when the Thunder drafted Reggie? Did you like the pick or would you have preferred a different player?

Young: I’ll be honest, I had to talk myself into it. I thought the Thunder’s greatest need was a backup small forward and I liked Jordan Hamilton from Texas. With Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor, Royal Ivey and then Nate Robinson on the roster, I didn’t see the value in drafting another guard. But after watching tape of him, seeing his versatility and the potential he has at both point and off the ball, I liked the selection a lot more.

The Heights: What were your expectations for him this season and how has he lived up to them or fallen short?

Young: I didn’t think he’d see much time at all, and what little he did see, I figured it would be in more of a shooting guard/scoring role. Considering the circumstances that he was cast into the rotation as a backup point guard, I’d say my expectations were completely changed, because he was doing something I didn’t expect. So it’s kind of hard to say.

The Heights: How do you think Reggie did filling in for Eric Maynor in the second unit?

Young: Acceptable, is the word I’d use. Replacing a guy like Maynor is tough because the Thunder were spoiled with him. We’re talking maybe the best backup point man in basketball. Jackson is a rookie though and you could tell he struggled a bit in confidence and comfort on the floor. But he definitely didn’t present a glaring hole with dumb turnovers and stupid shots or bad defense. He did well enough to not notice him, but at the same time, average enough to not notice him, if that makes sense.

The Heights: The Thunder have a lot of young players who seem to have built up good team chemistry. How have you seen Reggie fitting in with the squad?

Young: He’s pretty much part of the group for sure, but it’s hard not to be with the Thunder. The team has a built in chemistry that’s pretty incredible. Reggie gets the usual rookie hazing like he has to wear a My Little Pony pink backpack all the time and carry a giant teddy bear around, but that’s just part of working your way in. 

The Heights: James Harden handles the ball a lot for the second unit and the offense seems to run primarily through him. Do you think that has held Reggie’s development as a point guard back at all?

Young: That’s an interesting point, but I also think that’s by design. Harden’s a gifted creator and handles the ball a lot even when he’s on the floor with Westbrook. Or when Maynor was healthy too. It’s nothing against Jackson, but more about Harden’s incredible ability. Maybe it’s held Jackson back a little in the traditional sense, but the goal is to make the team better, which is what putting the ball in Harden’s hands does.

The Heights: How much playing time should he expect to get with Fisher on the roster now? Does he have a role or is he waiting on an injury at this point?

Young: He’s essentially out of the rotation. It’s an unfortunate break for him, but he really didn’t expect to play much this season anyway with Maynor in front of him. Now he’s got a chance to go back to learning behind guys like Westbrook and Fisher and continuing his development. 

The Heights: Down the road in his career do you think Reggie can contend for a starting job in the league? Not with Russ, but maybe elsewhere? Or do you see him more as a backup?

Young: Absolutely. Jackson’s got a lot of ability. He’s shown incredible flashes of athleticism and talent, but it’s just about comfort and confidence. He’s got to get used to the speed of the game and play the style he’s comfortable at. He’s got the chance to be really good. But he’s got to put in the work to get there.

To get more updates on Jackson’s progress in the league as well as great coverage on the Oklahoma City Thunder, check out http://www.dailythunder.com/

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