BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Q&A WIth Sophomore Lonnie Jackson
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The Heights: Having been in their positions last season, how do you see their development at this point, and what kind of advice have you given them to this point?
Jackson: They’ve done a tremendous job. They came in ready. They’re going blind in to the season, whereas we have more experience, so I try to let them know that it’s a different ball game. You’ve got to take care of your body. You’ve got to do what it takes now before it catches up to you. For example, they do a good job getting in the training room, getting in the weight room, just taking care of their bodies because it’s a long season. So I’m just trying to give them little tips here and there just to help them get through the season because it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
The Heights: What has Coach said about how you three primary guards are going to be used in the rotation this year?
Jackson: He hasn’t been talking about minutes or anything, but he’s been talking to me about what he wants me to do more of, what he expects from me, what I need to get better at, and I’m just trying to do what he’s telling me to do. He’s a very fair guy. He lets you know what you need to do if you want to be out on the court. If you’re not doing what he wants you to do, you’re not going to play.
That’s how it is in every other program. They’re always trying to get someone that’s better than you, and you’ve got to prove yourself. You’ve got to be the one continuing to work on your game. You can’t be satisfied where you’re at because people behind you are going to continue to work and try to take your spot, so you’ve got to fight to keep that spot. When you’re in the gym by yourself, you think about that like, “He’s trying to take my spot.”
The Heights: What are your expectations for this season?
Jackson: Our goal is, no doubt, to get to the NCAA tournament. That’s our main goal. I feel like our expectations are a lot different than last year because we didn’t know what to expect. Now we know what we’re going into. So we had a whole summer to work on our games and tailor our games to what we need to do to win. I feel like each one of our guys has come back a better player from the summer, and our goal is to make some noise in the ACC. A lot of people still have us in last place, but that’s where you want to be. You want to be the underdog. I feel like we’re going to have a good year and just keep working to get better.
The Heights: Have their been any changes to the system Coach Donahue is going to have the team run this season compared to last season with what pieces he now has?
Jackson: Last year, the system wasn’t really what he wanted to do. He slowed it down a lot and we were in a lot of 50-point games, but he wants to get up and down the floor and now in the offense he trusts us more. He’s not calling a play every time down. So he’s letting us do a little bit more out there. He’s not coaching as much. He’s letting us play a little bit more. I think that’s one of the biggest differences, and I’m really enjoying that. It’s just been fun and he’s letting us play, and that’s what you really want to do when you’re out there.