Jeff: Over the weekend, I was trying to come up with a BC basketball player who most compares to Reggie Jackson in terms of his NBA Draft experience.
How about Tyrese Rice?
Take a look at these stats. In each's junior seasons, Tyrese Rice scored 629 points while Reggie Jackson scored 618. Rice averaged 21 points, 5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Reggie averaged 18.2 points, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Rice averaged 38.1 minutes per game his junior year while Reggie averaged 34.1. Rice ended up returning for his senior season after talk of him declaring for the NBA Draft. During his senior year, his numbers declined slightly but that may have been partly because he was able to split some of the workload with Reggie who came in as a freshman. Rice ended up going undrafted even though most people predicted him to be selected all the way until Draft day. Do you see the similarities continuing between these two players or will Reggie stay in the Draft and get drafted this year? Your thoughts?
Brian: I think there are a lot of similarities between Rice and Jackson through each's first three seasons, but I think this is where the similarities stop. I do see Reggie staying in the Draft and getting drafted as a late first-round pick. I think Jackson will stay committed to the Draft for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, the team that Rice returned to had a ton more talent than next year's BC squad. As you mentioned, Jackson was a freshman in Rice's senior year, and the team also returned Rakim Sanders, Raji, Southern, Paris, Evan Ravenel and Dunn in 2008-09. They also received significant contributions from Trapani who was coming off his year on the bench after transferring from Vermont. That team had a good amount of talent and Rice helped lead the Eagles to an NCAA Tournament berth and surprised a lot of people in 2008-09. In contrast, the best talent BC returns includes a walk-on, Elmore and Moton. That's it. Rice could return for his senior season knowing that he had a few other offensive weapons. Reggie would return knowing full well that he'll be the center of attention and likely double- and triple-teamed next season.
Another reason why I don't think Reggie returns is the coaching change. Rice may have felt some obligation to return to play for Skinner, the coach who recruited him. While I'm sure Reggie is a team player and has a lot of respect for Donahue, he might not feel the same sort of bond with Donahue that he had with Skinner.
Finally, and with no disrespect to Rice, I think Reggie is more NBA-ready than Rice was. At 6-3, Jackson is a couple inches taller than Rice and is arguably more athletic. I think when Reggie works out for NBA teams he will impress and make an NBA roster next season. So to answer your question, I think this is where Rice and Jackson's similar paths end. For a glimpse at what the future has in store for Jackson, I would look to another former BC point guard -- Troy Bell. While Bell stayed for his senior season, he was drafted in the first round (16th overall) in a draft year that included future NBA superstars LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The '03 Draft class is considered by many to be one of the best ever. With this year's draft class being much weaker than 2003, I expect Jackson to go in the first 20 picks of this year's draft.
What do you think? Does Jackson stay or does he go? And if he leaves, will he join Troy Bell, Jared Dudley and Jared Dudley as recent BC players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft?
Jeff: I agree completely. Through three years, they are extremely similar. Rice's draft stock was higher entering his senior than it was following. Reggie might even think back to Tyrese's experience, which Jackson was a part of, and factor that into his decision now.
I don't know if Reggie will get drafted in the first round, but I do not think he will go undrafted.