HoopsVibe spoke with University of Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Traevon spoke about his experience in the NCAA Tournament, playing against Naismith Award winner Trey Burke and who's the better player- him or his dad.
During the 2012-2013 season, In his sophomore year, Jackson posted career highs in all major categories while playing in 35 games, starting 29 of them.
Jackson was second on the team in free throw percentage (.765), first in steals (1.0 spg) and 15th in the Big Ten in assists.
HoopsVibe- What was your experience like playing in the NCAA Tournament?
Traevon Jackson- "Obviously, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. Just playing in the tournament was great, getting that kind of experience. You really grow up fast because it’s the attitude of “loser goes home” and unfortunately, we had to go home. But it really puts into perspective what you need to do to prepare for it going forward. And learning that this year, helps us next year."
HV- Is there added pressure based on who your dad is (14 year NBA vet Jim Jackson) to succeed? What’s the dynamic of that like?
TJ- "Growing up, I felt it more than I do now, but now I don’t even think about it at all, actually. The pressure that I feel now the most is pleasing the Lord. That may sound cliché, but that’s an everyday type of task and the biggest thing for me. As long as I continue to grow in that aspect, there is no other question."
HV- Did your dad give you a hard time when you went to Wisconsin instead of Ohio State?
TJ- "No, he supported me. He told me what I was getting into as far as the coaching staff and what to expect, and he was right; he was right about a lot of things. At the end of the day he was just happy for me because he had seen where I started from in terms of basketball and what I had become. He was just very happy for me, and my mom too."
HV- Who would win one on one right now?
"Oh, me of course (laughing). Easily. He can beat me in golf and all the other games, cards, all that stuff. But he’s not beating me on the court."
HV- How did him moving around during his NBA career, playing for 12 different NBA teams, impact you as you were growing up?
TJ- "It was great. I got to go to a lot of different cities and see a lot of places I wouldn’t have probably otherwise seen. But, just from watching him, I got to really go through and experience his career with him. He started out as a top guy in the league and eventually became a productive role player. Just seeing how he handled it was awesome. It taught me to never give up, no matter what. I think about it now when I go through adversity, I never saw him put his head down; he always found a way, just like my mom. Just keep working hard and good things will come."
HV- You just finished your sophomore year and you were a big part of the Wisconsin rotation, playing almost 28 minutes a game. What helped your development the most between freshman and sophomore year?
TJ- "Mainly going home and working with my trainer Anthony Rhodman. This was my first full summer going back home and doing all the skill work that I needed to work on. Coming back in this year I was way more confident and better overall. It took a little while, had to go thru adversity. I didn’t achieve all the goals I wanted to, but the little bit of success I had is like a glimpse of the future."
HV- How’d you hook up with Anthony Rhodman?
TJ- "I saw Trey Burke going off in Ann Arbor. We were seniors in high school at the same time and he was killing that year; he won Mr. Basketball, all the awards and I asked him, "Who are you working out with?" And he told me about Anthony. Then I heard Trey talk, and I’d never heard him say so many things he was saying about the Lord, so I knew he had everything straight. And it took me off guard so I wanted to talk to Anthony. I hit Anthony up to introduce myself and he had heard of me and was planning on talking to me. We just hooked up from there and started working."
HV- Who would win one on one between you and Trey Burke?
TJ- "It would be tough but right now, it would be me (laughing). I always have to say me (laughing). It’s fun though. We play one on one in the summer and just always have fun."
HV- Favorite NBA player?
TJ- "Deron Williams. I love D Will because he’s a bigger guard and I always see myself being like him; the way that he uses hesitation and the between the leg dribble. He's explosive and can do it all."
HV- What’s the most annoying or creative heckling you have heard in any Big Ten arena?
TJ- "A lot of stuff about my dad, believe me. But I’ve heard that forever so it’s rare I hear anything new. There was this one lady at Indiana after we beat them. It was after the game and I was walking off the court and she was just sitting there on the sidelines. I was walking off the court and apparently I was smiling, even though I wasn't aware of it, and she said, “There’s nothing to be smiling at!” It caught me off guard and I thought, “Why are you so mad?” That’s one thing that comes to mind. Fans always say “Jimmy’s better!’ (laughing) but I’m so focused on the game I don’t even pay attention except at maybe at a dead ball."
Currently, the Lakers are in possession of the Western Conference's eighth seed by one game over the Utah Jazz.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: If the Lakers don't make it, they have at least five legitimate reasons why they failed.
Firing of Mike Brown, Hiring of Mike D'Antoni, Not Hiring Phil Jackson
After five games, the Lakers brass fired Mike Brown. But before he got fired, they forced him to employ the "Princeton Offense," an offense that never got properly instituted because of injuries to nearly every key player in the preseason. Brown was out, but who would replace him? For several days, Phil Jackson was going to be re-hired, it looked like a foregone conclusion. But under the cover of night, late on a Sunday evening, the Lakers announced they would hire D'Antoni instead. As the season has now almost completely played itself out, they couldn't have been any worse if they would've just retained Bernie Bickerstaff for the entire season, who won four of his five games as head coach.
Every significant player on the team was injured at some point this season. Steve Nash, Kobe, Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol- and those are just the starters. The bench was equally ravaged. Robert Sacre, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake; and that's the short list. No wonder they haven't had any chemistry all year.
Lack Of Pau Gasol
Gasol's head wasn't right all season. And yours wouldn't have been either if your name was Pau Gasol. No one has taken more of a beating for being "soft". But if he was soft, Gasol wouldn't have two rings and a slew of all-star appearances. So what does he get for his trouble? He gets benched for Earl Clark by D'Antoni, who was trying to assert his power to "motivate" Gasol. That was a "bass-akward" thing to do. To make it worse, D'Antoni did it when the Lakers rotation was being held together with duct tape. If he was healthy, the Lakers should've squeezed every last second out of him.
Where Was "Ron Ron" All Year?
I get that "Ron Ron" has decided to completely give up on scoring. I get that he fancies himself a lockdown one on one defender. But for a guy who has scored over 20+ ppg in his career, for him to not be more involved offensively (and I don't mean hoisting up three's from the corner, which has become his signature offensive move), I mean getting involved and productive when the team needed him. He didn't, so Kobe had to carry the squad, and still is, like always.
Dwight Howard Saga
I don't care what Howard's numbers are, or if Andrew Bynum missed the entire season- Howard killed the Lakers with his endless, me first drama. It started before he got traded to LA, then continued once he arrived because of "injuries" and a bunch of other excuses. Dwight Howard is a drama queen and softer than Pau Gasol- FACT.
41 years ago today, the Lakers set an untouchable record.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: This is potentially the most overlooked record in all of sports.
To put the record into perspective, the Clippers 17 game winning streak that ended less than a week ago was little more than half as long.
On 1/7/72, the Lakers beat the Atlanta Hawks 134-90 for their 33rd win in a row. Two days later the streak was broken during a 120-104 loss to a Milwaukee Bucks team led by Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Oscar Robertson. If you're going to have an epic streak broken, it may as well come against two of the best players in NBA histroy.
Led by Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlin, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Pat Riley and Jim McMillian (and including former Phil Jackson assistant coach Jim Cleamons), the 1971-72 Lakers are arguably the greatest team of all time.
On their way to the best record in NBA history (until the 1995-96 Bulls eclipsed it), the team culminated the streak by winning the NBA title, the first for the franchise since the move to LA from Minnesota. The Lakers didn't lose a game for over two months, going a combined 30-0 in November and December.
So is it the most impressive winning streak in American (because who knows what the hell is going on in Pakistan or Uganda; it doesn't matter) professional sports history? Let's compare it to the other major sports.
The MLB record for consecutive wins is 26 by the then baseball NY Giants. In the NFL, the New England Patriots won 21 in a row between 2003 and 2004. In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins set the mark with 17 straight in 1993.
NBA wise, you may be surprised to know that the second longest winning streak is 22 held by the Houston Rockets in 2007-08. Nobody expected anything out of the Rockets that year and they somehow went off before showing "they are who we thought they were" and losing in the first round of the playoffs.
Do you think the Lakers record of 33 consecutive wins will ever be broken?
The NBA season really doesn't begin until Christmas Day.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: But what you may not know is that the tradition of the NBA on Christmas started all the way back in 1947.
The current format of five games on Christmas Day started in 2008- prior to then, the most ever played was three on Christmas Day. Tomorrow when the Knicks play the Lakers, it will be the 48th time the Knicks play on Christmas which is the most of any NBA franchise. The game will be the 39th all-time for the Lakers (second most). When the Celtics visit Brooklyn to play the Nets, it will be their 29th appearance on Chrsitmas, third most all-time.
The Knicks have played in nine more games than any other franchise and have also won the most Christmas Day games, by a margin of 22 to 20 over the Lakers.
Love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant has made as significant impact to Christmas Day games as any player in history. Tomorrow will be his record extending 15th Christmas game. Dolph Schayes, Shaq and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe all played in a total of 13.
Like King's 60 point game, there have been some other memorable performances on Christmas Day.
In 1992, Michael Jordan scored 42 points against a Patrick Ewing led Knicks squad en route to a 89-77 victory. 40 years ago, Tiny Archibald set a Chrstmas Day record with 18 assists. That same year he would be teh first player to ever lead the NBA in scoring and assists in the same season. 25 years ago Dominique Wilkins had 45 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a 106-100 Hawks victory over the 76ers.
As the popularity of the NBA has grown, so has the interest worldwide. Tomorrow's games will be broadcast in 215 countries in 47 languages and will feature 23 playes from 16 countries.
Merry Christmas to everyone! Hopefully Santa doesn't fill your stockings with coal, homeboy! In the spirt of that, here's a classic Chrstmas joint from Run-DMC that I'm sure we will hear during the games tomorrow:
Today in 1971, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored a career-high 55 points in Milwaukee’s 120-104 victory over Boston.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: It's somewhat suprising his career high wasn't higher.
And that's not a slight to the former Lew Alcindor at all. He was just such a dominant player for such a long time, and considering he is the NBA's all-time leading scorer, I would've guessed it would have been north of 60-65 points.
In 20 professional seasons, he never averaged less than double figures, and in 17 of those seasons, he averaged 20+. A lot of his points scored came via the famous "Sky Hook" shot that he created while in just the fifth grade. It's interesting because his proficiency at it made him synonymous with it, which in a lot of ways, limits how he is remembered historically. It's like a game of word association, when I say "Sky Hook", you're going to say "Kareem", to the point where it obscures his dominance in all other areas. In college, the dunk was outlawed from 1967 until 1976 because of his overpowering use of it.
The average NBA fan knows that Abdul-Jabbar is the highest scorer in league history, but did you also know he is also the leader in games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goals attempted, blocked shots, defensive rebounds AND personal fouls? The most amazing stat of all may be that he currently ranks 35th in NBA history in assists! From 1970 to 1989 he missed one all-star game. There are may be a handful of players who have made the impact that Kareem made to the game.
Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships, six regular season MVP awards, two Finals MVP awards, led the league in scoring average twice, rebounding average once, and blocks per game four times.
41 years ago tonight, Kareem scored more points than he ever would in another NBA game.