CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Rick Jackson #00 of the Syracuse Orange goes to the basket against the Indiana State Sycamores during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getting screwed out of critical pre-season opportunities isn't just for NFL rookies anymore. As Rick Jackson is finding out, the same goes for NBA hopefuls like himself this summer.
Since the NBA is locked in labor negotiations with its players, they've cancelled summer league, a vastly-important opportunity for potentially-undrafted players like Rick who need to get some serious facetime with teams, scouts and coaches.
Mike Waters spoke with some people in the biz and while things look dire for a guy like Jackson, opportunities should still exist, assuming the NBA plays ball next year.
"He’s a lunch-pail guy,’’ a Western Conference scout said. "And teams need lunch-pail guys. But it takes time to find those guys and find the right spot for them. He’ll probably be the 13th, 14th, or 15th guy on a team. The lockout will affect those fringe guys more than any other guys.’’
Being the 14th or 15th guy on an NBA team is nothing to sneeze at and it sure beats being the No. 1 guy NOT on the team.
Of course, if things remain like this, RickJack will have to make some tough decisions. Tough it out in the US or head overseas? Plenty of Orange have found success abroad, but usually that's after their NBA hopes have been dashed...not before.
Getting drafted could cure a lot of what ails Rick, but right now, things look iffy. Draft Express ranks Jackson as the 65th best draft prospect in the nation and the No. 20 big man available. Pro Draft Central ranks Jackson 15th among power forwards.