When the Oklahoma City Thunder visited the Celtics on Jan. 16, Kendrick Perkins‘ return to Boston was the talk of the town. But Perkins wasn’t the only player on the Thunder roster returning to the Hub that night. Oklahoma City rookie Reggie Jackson was also making his first appearance in Boston since suiting up for Boston College for the past three years.
While Boston College has been on the decline since Jackson’s departure (the Eagles are currently 7-11 overall and 2-2 in the ACC), the 6-3 guard’s career appears to be heading in the opposite direction. After being selected at No. 24 by Oklahoma City last June, Jackson is averaging 11 minutes per game for the 14-3 Thunder. With Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden ahead of him in the Oklahoma City rotation, it might take some time before Jackson sees the court with any regularity, but he has already demonstrated the ability to compete at the NBA level. In 23 minutes against the Spurs earlier this month, Jackson put up a career-high 11 points and four assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
“Jackson has the athletic ability and smarts to become a starting point guard in this league,” says an NBA scout. “He’s in a good situation to learn in Oklahoma City, as Harden shares the lead guard duties when they are on the floor with the second unit. Don’t be surprised to see him play well in meaningful minutes in the playoffs this spring.”
We caught up with Jackson before the Thunder’s 97-88 win over the Celtics to discuss his adjustment to the NBA, Call of Duty and sneakers.
*** *** ***
Dime: What did you think of the slow start that Boston College had this season?
Reggie Jackson: Young guys, new system, coach is still fairly knew. Last year, (Steve Donahue) inherited the program really. This is a fresh start for everybody. It was tough to watch. It was tough to know how they were struggling but you knew they were going to compete. At least one thing I know is they compete every night and they’re competing every day in practice and it shows.
Dime: How do you think your rookie year has gone so far?
RJ: It’s gone great. We’ve won. I don’t really care about stats or anything. I’m just happy we’re winning.
Dime: How’s your knee?
RJ: Good enough. I’m dressing, so it’s great.
Dime: What’s been the hardest part of adjusting to the NBA?
RJ: All the traveling. It’s very tiring. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what today was, except I’m hearing it’s Martin Luther King Day and of course that falls on Monday. So I don’t really know the dates ever. Too much moving, too much traveling. I don’t know how many games we’ve played. I just take it a day at a time. That’s been my approach. That’s what these guys have taught me, so it’s really helping out right now.
Dime: Coming back from the lockout, how long did it take you to get in game shape?
RJ: I’m always in game shape. I told, you first one in, last one out. Whether the cameras are on or not, I’m always trying to be physically prepared.
Dime: Do you plan on doing anything now that you’re back in Boston for a little bit?
RJ: I plan on winning a game tonight.
Dime: What was your first NBA purchase once you got your contract signed?
RJ: I really don’t spend money. Luckily I have my brother to track my money. I really just don’t do much. I chill with my teammates, chill at home, play video games.
Dime: What video games are you playing these days?
RJ: I play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III. I play some Madden, some 2K a little, but definitely Modern Warfare III the most.
Dime: What’s your weapon of choice?
RJ: Probably the ACR. That’s definitely the best gun on the game.
Dime: What music do you listen to before games?
RJ: I listen to everybody. I kind of just listen to what everybody else has on. I just observe everybody else and listen around. I listen to some Meek Millz, some Drake.
Dime: Being with Kevin Durant, do you guys get any hook ups with shoes?
RJ: I got the KD’s on right now. He takes care of us. Everybody on this team looks out for each other. I’m pretty sure if I asked Russ (Westbrook) for a pair of those kicks, he would give me those too. Everybody’s just looking out for the most part.
Dime: What do you do for fun in Oklahoma City?
RJ: I play video games and chill with my teammates. We just hang out. It’s like being in college again, just everybody kinda has their own crib instead of being in the dorms. But we definitely have that atmosphere. We’re pretty much together all the time, and I think it really shows on the court.
Dime: What do you miss the most about college life?
RJ: Probably everybody being in one general area. Easy to just hangout. That would probably be the most right now.
Dime: You probably eat a little bit better now though, right?
RJ: Yeah. It’s a little more mixed up. You can eat whatever you want. Also the organization takes care of us with that. The food choices are definitely spiced up a little.
Will Jackson have an impact this year on OKC’s season?
Follow Martin on Twitter at @MartinKessler91.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.