One-on-one with Patrick Jackson

Junior forward Patrick Jackson hangs on the net after a dunk against Shawnee State on Jan. 2. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Junior forward Patrick Jackson hangs on the net after a dunk against Shawnee State on Jan. 2. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Nick Shook

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Flashes’ junior forward Patrick Jackson played two years at Rutgers University before transferring to Kent State last year. Jackson took the time to sit down with Daily Kent Stater basketball beat reporter Nick Shook to talk about his life, both on and off the court.

NS: What sports did you play as a child?

PJ: I played football when I was in middle school and a little bit in high school. I played baseball when I first started and soccer as well. I didn’t start playing basketball until my eighth-grade year. My mom made me play because I was bigger than everybody.

NS: Were you substantially bigger?

PJ: Height-wise, I was always tall. I wore a size six shoe when I was 6 years old, and it continued all the way until I was 15, when I wore a size 15 shoe.

NS: You played in the Jordan Classic at Madison Square Garden. What was that like?

PJ: Me and Justin Greene played on the same team. I think I finished the game with 20 points and eight rebounds. We got to meet Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant. It was a good experience because it was at Madison Square Garden. I got to meet all of the top players and get to know them. It was good meeting all of them and seeing how humble they were.

NS: Did you see Durant play versus LeBron James in flag football?

PJ: Yeah, I did. I want to play football, man. I’m serious. I want to play football.

NS: The football office is right around the corner.

PJ: That’s what I want to do. I’m serious. (laughs). Make sure Coach (Darrell) Hazell sees that.

NS: What was your recruitment like for basketball?

PJ: I had Clemson, UConn, Syracuse, Iowa State, Iowa, Rutgers, of course, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth. I had quite a few schools. In the end it came down to pretty much Virginia Tech and Rutgers because when I went on my visits there, they showed the most sincere interest. I felt like I was more of a necessity at those schools instead of just being a number.

NS: You chose Rutgers; what happened there?

PJ: I committed there at the beginning of my senior year because I wanted to get it out of the way and focus on the season. I played sparingly my freshman year, and sophomore year it was up and down. At the end of my season, my coach got fired, and that was one of the reasons why I left.

NS: When you started to look for other options, when did Kent State come into the picture?

PJ: They were the first school to contact me, and they called my high school coach, and Coach (Rob) Senderoff called me. I came here on a Friday and was supposed to visit Marshall on Saturday. Coach Senderoff made sure I got up here before I went to Marshall.

NS: What sold you on Kent State?

PJ: The team, the camaraderie, everybody was a tight-knit bunch. It was a family atmosphere.

NS: You had to sit out last season due to the NCAA transfer rules. What was that like?

PJ: I was itching the whole year (to play). It’s hard to just practice and not play. I was definitely looking forward to this year.

NS: Time to switch gears. What are your hobbies?

PJ: Yeah, I’m really good at writing. A lot of my teammates don’t know how to talk to girls, so I help them with that. I do it for Scootie (Carlton Guyton) a lot. I’ve always been reading and trying to find the meaning of words because I always like to use a lot of different words: a big vocabulary. I want to know the definition so I know when to use it and when not to use it, so I guess that just expanded my vocabulary and allowed me to just start writing poems.

NS: You’re an education studies major with a minor in athletic coaching. What do you want to do with that?

PJ: I want to stay in the sports field. It doesn’t matter what sport, but I like coaching. I like interacting with young adults. I want to help other student-athletes get better and make sure they’re on the same page on how to pursue life and their sport at the same time.

NS: What are your goals after college?

PJ: I plan on playing professionally, either football or basketball. After that, I want to get into coaching.

NS: Were you encouraged by how the team started strong on Saturday versus Bowling Green?

PJ: I was very encouraged because obviously we normally don’t do that. I feel as though everybody is on the same page. We knew we had to play defense to get the lead, and if we know that’s what the focal point has to be, we’re going to score as much as we want to score. We just have to make sure we get stops.

Jackson and the rest of his team return to action against Ohio University tonight at 7 p.m. in Athens, Ohio.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected] and @NickShookDKS.