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October 31, 2011

Shedding the Mystery with Bearcat Justin Jackson

The frontline of UC basketball will look markedly different this season. As a freshman Justin Jackson averaged 12.9 mpg on a senior-laden team.

His role should expand this season.

I have been wondering about your offensive role this year. Are you going to play more in the post?
I am more of a face-up player. I am too small to play the post. I am more of a face up hopefully a mid-range player.

So Yancy, Cheikh, and you could play at the same time?
No, Me and Cheikh are going to be backup. We are going to come off the bench. It will be and Gates and then the rest of the guards and everything.

So Yancy on the blocks, the wings out there and you…
Kind of in the middle. Around the perimeter.

A lot of rotating?
Yeah. A lot of rotating. I play both.

Is that what you want to do?
Yeah. I prefer to do that to playing in the post.

You like to, kind of, beat your man off the dribble?
Right, right, right. With most people I guard I can do that.

Are we still going to see you doing a lot of press, double teams in the backcourt?
Yeah. Still be doing that.

That will be fun. You like doing that too?
Yeah. I love playing defense. Defense is always first to me.

It gets you excited?
Right.

It also gets everybody else excited too?
Right.

And it also gets the fans excited too.
All of the team gets into the game by playing defense. If that helps I will do it.

Do you watch any other sports?
Not really. I am an Alabama fan in football. I like St. John's in basketball.

How abut top five NBA players right now?
Amare`, Kobe, Lebron, Derrick Rose, and actually my boy Lance (Stephenson).

Lance?
Yeah.

He is in the top five?
Yeah. That is my top five right there.

First age you could dunk at
14?

14?
Mmhmm.

How tall were you at the time?
About 6'1". 6'2" maybe. I don't know.

What are you at now?
6'8".

Do you have a favorite shoe?
My favorite shoes are Jordan's.

Like a specific type? Color?
The 14's (2011). I like the 10's. And the 5's (1990). The "Five" is my favorite shoe.

Going to hit a three-pointer this year?
Yeah. I have been working the whole summer on my shot. My jump shot so you will see a lot of improvement.

Can you shoot of the dribble?
Yeah.

One dribble a couple dribbles?
I am a one-two dribble guy.

That will be nice. Where were you born?
Florida.

What part?
Cocoa Beach.

I know you went to high school there (FL) in the end. Did you stay there the whole time?
Yeah. I stayed in Florida, but I didn't stay where I was from. I ended in Jacksonville.

Did you like the Jacksonville area?
Yeah.

Some people have said it's a dead city.
Yeah. (Hesitant) It depends where you are at. It depends where you are at.

Ok. Kelvin. Kelvin is playing this year. What can we expect from him?
He will be a help. He will be a help on defense.

Yeah?
A strong rebounder. He can change shots and run the floor. He can finish when he is on the run.

Is he tough to score against in the post for you? I know you are probably quicker than him, but in the paint can you get around him?
Some days. Some days he can be tough but most of the time I go past him.

Name some things you have done off campus since you got here.
I got me a dog.

Oh yeah? What kind?
A chocolate Lab.

I got me a dog. I go help people with like food and stuff. And just go to the REC and play basketball with them just cause they are fans. I help out. And do things like that.

Did you do any of that in high school?
Not really.

Is it fun seeing people who are fans of you? They don't want anything from you other than some time.
Last year it was something that was new to me. Now I have gotten used to it.

It is basically like fame. It is kind of interesting, isn't it?
Now I have gotten used to it. It has been happening for awhile. It was happening before I got here because I was coming here. When it first happened I was like, 'Woah, woah, woah.' Now it is alright.

Do you sign your autograph pretty quickly?
Yeah (laughs).

Just J J? That's it.
Yeah.

Did you win any awards in high school, other than basketball-related?
Most funny. And I got MVP for my team.

Have you ever met any NBA players face to face?
My close friend is Amare Stoudemire. I played on his AAU team. My coach was his dad.

What was that Each One Teach One (E1T1)?
Yeah.

That is awesome. Did you get to play against him as you were growing up?
Yeah. I played with him a lot. When he came home and stuff.

Did he give you any advice? He probably knows a lot of guys.
He said, 'Keep your head up and keep working hard. Whatever you want to do keep your mind to it and always believe you can finish. Never say never.'

You love watching the Knicks then?
Yeah. I love it. They are my favorite team right now. Phoenix was and now the Knicks.

Schedule. What games are you excited about on the schedule?
The teams that we lost to. I want to play them again.

Do you have a player on this team that is going to improve the most from last year?
I am going to say Jaquon Parker.

He is going to play a lot more?
Yeah. Hopefully.

Thank you very much.


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