January 12, 2011

Jackson updates his season

MADISON - When you're the son of a college basketball legend and NBA veteran, chances are you will have a pretty decent basketball IQ.

So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that 2011 recruit Traevon Jackson knows what he needs to work on midway through his senior season and is striving towards becoming a better player by the time he steps foot on campus.

Shortly after the Badgers dropped a heartbreaking loss at Michigan State, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the Ohio native. The following is a transcript of our conversation with Jackson.

Well, obviously that was a pretty tough loss for Wisconsin that we just watched. What did you think of the game?

Jackson: They had it. Some turnovers in the full court…they had a nine point lead and I think that little stretch they went through (hurt). They had the game. That last play, I mean, he had to force it kind of. I think he could have took Delvon Roe to the hole and got it down to the block. They struggled with the high ball screen the whole game and it was hard to guard. They should have had it. They'll beat them next time, hopefully.

I mean, it was so different from what Wisconsin does. They don't turn the ball over essentially the whole second half and then they have three turnovers during the final minute.

Jackson: Part of that reasoning was because they were denying Jordan Taylor the ball. Every time he would give it up real quick because he had the five second count. Then they would deny him the ball and somebody else would have it and didn't know what to do with it or whatever. That's when I think somebody like Josh Gasser has got to come get the ball at that point. They were denying Jordan the ball a lot.

That's one that's going to sting for a while, but let's change the subject a little bit. How's your season going?

Jackson: It's going pretty good. We're 9-0 right now and we play again Friday night. We've got a couple of tough games coming up, but we're doing alright. We've got some things to work on, but we've had a good week of practice and we're starting to get the chinks out of our system. We'll be alright.

How are you playing personally?

Jackson: I've been playing good lately. I struggled a little bit in a couple of games, but other than that I've just been getting into a rhythm with the team. A lot of teams have been keying on me so I have been distributing a lot more than I have. Most of the time we don't play in the fourth quarters, at least the starters, because we've been beating teams by a lot. I've got a lot to do to get better and that's what I've kept working on. I look to get better as the season goes on.

What are some areas that you're trying to get better in?

Jackson: Just not being so frustrated. I've been frustrated a lot lately just not getting the calls here and there and not playing up to my level that I want to play at. I know that I can play better and sometimes I let that get to me. What happens is I'll have a bad first quarter or bad first half and then I'll come out and play better in the second half. I just want to be more consistent and just keep my head on my shoulders. It's never (a problem) with my other teammates or anything like that, it's having that confidence in myself.

You said opposing teams are kind of keying on you, are you seeing a lot of double or triple teams? Or are they just attacking you when you get the ball?

Jackson: A lot of times when I get the ball it's not so much double teams. Every time I drive three or four defenders collapse on me right away. It's not so much double teams when I'm up top because then I'll just pass it right away. If they want to do that then I'll just pass it. I don't mind passing the ball at all. That's what they've been doing and I'll pass it up and we'll score. We've got a lot of guys on my team that can make plays.

Defensively I've been playing well. We all have been playing, we've got some things to work on, but defensively I've been able to use that to help get my offense game.

Are you a pretty lanky guy? Do you have a pretty good wingspan and are you pretty tough as far as your length?

Jackson: Honestly, I couldn't tell you my length. But I do present a problem on defense. I like to say that I'm the best defender on the team and I'm sure other players on my team would say the same thing. I think that's something you can be selfish with, that and rebounding. You can be selfish defensively by stopping your man and not letting him get to the hole and taking charges and getting steals. That's what I've really been trying to do.

I guess it's still pretty early in the season here, but do you like your teams chances moving forward here especially as we get closer to March and tournament time?

Jackson: Yeah, definitely. We've just got to take it one game at a time, though. A little bit towards the beginning of the season we were looking a little ahead too much. We got into some games where we should have blown teams out but it wound up being a close game because we weren't executing and doing the proper things we should have been doing. We've just got to take it one game at a time and if we do that everything should fall in.

Kind of taking it a different direction here, but you signed your letter of intent in the early signing period. Was that kind of a weight off your shoulders just so you could kind of focus on this senior year and now that you're into your senior year do you notice that?

Jackson: Actually it was. I didn't realize how much it affected me until I actually started playing this year. It definitely was a weight off my shoulders and probably helped me not worry about this coach is looking or coach Greg Gard is here or something like that. It just helped me play. It definitely helped my team out as well. I can help my team out better.

Do you just play a little bit more relaxed and loose?

Jackson: Yeah, definitely. It's helped me turnover-wise, too. I was making turnovers and I would think, 'I can't have turnovers' and that would lead to more turnovers. I want to have a high assist-to-turnover ratio which I've been working on a lot compared to last year.

I'm sure you've had contact with the UW coaching staff. How often do you talk to them and what have they been telling you about your season so far?

Jackson: I do talk to coach Gard pretty often. It's probably once every few weeks. I try not to call coach Bo Ryan so much because he's got so much to do with the media and so many other things and coaching, of course. I try to let him call me when he gets some free time. I talk to coach Gard most of the time.

Are you planning on making a trip up to Madison at all anytime soon?

Jackson: I don't think I will be, but I know when they play Ohio State I'll be going to that game. I went there last year, too, when they played Ohio State. I think they play them the last game of the season.

I'm sure you get it all the time with your dad obviously being a big standout at Ohio State, but what does he think of you going to a rival Big Ten school?

Jackson: He's happy for me. He wants the best for me. He always said that it was my decision and I'm down with that. He just wants me to succeed academically and on the court. He just wants the best with me. He feels very comfortable with coach Ryan and the assistant coaches in coach Gard and coach Lamont Paris. So, he's happy and wants the best for me.

Have you noticed him giving any sort of kudos to Wisconsin when he does his Big Ten Network stuff?

Jackson: He always lets me know and give me little points about you need to watch JT (Jordan Taylor) on this ball screen and watch how he takes it. Watch how he gets post position…He's always giving me key points and how and what they do. He's always trying to help me transition into what they do better. He's always complimentary.

Is he starting to become a Badger fan?

Jackson: Yeah, he's going to have to (laughing). He's going to have to eventually.

The following is the audio file from the interview:
Jackson, 1/11/11

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!