Sunday, 22 December 2013
JUSTIN JACKSON Feature-N.W.T.S. (NEVER WAS THE SAME)
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Somewhere in Canada hip-hop all-star Drake will be popping champagne and celebrating the success of his latest and one of his greatest albums, 'Nothing Was The Same', proving he really is here after starting from the bottom. Meanwhile across town, somewhere in Toronto the Canadian city and their rising from almost certain extinction Raptor franchise will be celebrating the history they will make in February of 2016, where they will be the first city and country outside of the United States Of America to hold the illustrious NBA All-Star game. Sometime later on both parties will join together to celebrate the coronation of rapper Drake becoming the global ambassador of his city and Canada's remaining NBA franchise. If you thought it couldn't get much bigger than that for Canadian basketball then you obviously need to read a paper or something like Vlade Divac. There's more Toronto stars to read all about than the billboard and broadsheet blockbuster players.
Somewhere in Ontario before all the celebrating was happening in the city a young man was netting basket after basket in a quiet gym. Putting in first-hand work and determined to be the last to leave, even after the lights have made their exit. It won't be long before the J.J experience is filling gymnasiums and illuminating lights everywhere. If you thought the league couldn't use yet another Jackson, then think again as this Justin is about to be a household name like Timberlake or 'Thriller'. Jackson is just that exciting and his enticing references justified. This runner, gunner, who believes he excels at "getting the ball in transition" and "up the floor quickly" is set to rip down college nets and one day breeze through the NBA draft and who knows what else. Stop, wait, right now with his sneakers on the ground of the wood floor, the only hall Justin Jackson is concerned with right now is the corridors of his high school. That's how focussed this kid is on living his life right now, telling kids to "make sure your school work is intact", whilst doing the Spike Lee right thing himself. Still even in this moment, this 16 year old owns his alumni's trophy cabinet with a polished game and a physical and mental side that makes him look and seem, calender years older...and this kid isn't even in his prime yet. The man who's basketball I.Q. is through the roof, will face more tests in this life but right now we have no idea how tall this guys Sistine Chapel potential ceiling-yet alone height-will be. Pop quiz hot shot, how good do you think he'll be when he's already painting perfect plays and strokes of genius by the numbers? He's already walking taller then his listed height, telling us from Vegas, "I didn't think basketball would take me this far".
Well it is and this is far from childs play. "Tough" is the first word Jackson used to describe being away from home, but he is showing the maturity in his life's education as well as the game that's schooling opponents nightly just when they thought class was over. This is more than the potential noise made by Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh in Toronto. This is the promise of someone straight out of Ontario ready to exclaim himself for his country loudly and proudly. No wonder the school Jackson chose was one that featured first and foremost a "track record with a really strong history, especially with Canadians". Attending the north of the border friendly Findlay Prep, ("from the moment you step off the plane it's a family" Justin laments "everyone makes me feel comfortable") the same school as fellow countrymen the San Antonio Spurs' Corey Joesph, Tristan Thompson (whose best advice to J.J is "keep pushing, it helps you more than it hurts you") of Cleveland and another Cavalier talent, coach Andy Johnson couldn't be prouder of his top talent. "He's a great kid" coach told the Buzz from Vegas, adding "he can play multiple positions and do so many different things, where he helps the team in many different ways". The 6 foot 7 wing has been known to pull his teams out of 30 point deficits in just a quarter of an hour, showing his pinpoint passes are just as good as his man-child, towering offence. As Johnson sees and tells it Jackson "doesn't have to take many dribbles or shots to be an effective player...his versatility is such a great weapon". The "mismatch problem" is also been known to score 17 against gold medallists USA in the FIBA U-17 World Championships, as well as averaging 11.2 points and 6 rebounds for Canada. No wonder he's received collegiate attention from everyone from Wake Forest to Ohio State and Baylor to Michigan. Still here's the Scoop on Jackson, to settle this college is the last thing on J's mind as he tells is "I'm still young, I'm not looking for colleges right now". His basketball ethics are in the right place to like his attitude to study. When he's not hitting the books, he's hitting the boards stating "the main goal is the championship at the end of the year".
As Coach tells it, "Canada basketball is definitely on the rise" and the next generations climb is helped by the hands of the man who is "getting use to the different cultures" between Canada and their neighbours, heading due south like that mountie in that T.V. show with the wolf. Jackson believes in his country "the talent is just booming', but a lot of credit belongs to him despite his humble modesty believing that "it's an honour just to be named in the category of such good players" that have made their way from Canada to the NBA, by way of Findlay prep. "They have set the tone for us", he adds in tribute, "(they) just make us want to go that much harder". Now, somewhere in America, Canadian hope Anthony Bennett will try to prove and show the Cleveland Cavaliers and the rest of the NBA that he's the next LeBron James for the wine and gold, champagne chasing generation, working as much as Jay-Z raps about Billy Ray's girl twerking. Still, as Bennett looks to leave his heart on the court like his soprano namesake Tony did in San Francisco, there is another Canuck, who looks to be the next Bennett. Or better yet his own player who one day kids that share his halls can look up to and want a piece of like his upcoming fame. Looking to do for his city, country and game what Steve Nash did on a global scale. The world is already watching...one day it could be his. This is not just an illusion, for all action Jackson the tricks of this guys trade being inspired by Earvin Johnson, otherwise known as Magic. Just imagine ladies and gentleman if this Class of 2016 prospect ended up being drafted by the Toronto Raptors for the ultimate Canadian All-Star dream year fantasy come true. That would certainly cross the T and dot the eye of the city. All lenses but no tints are fixed on this star pupil and visionary Point Guard for the forthcoming semester. J.J's good times have only just begun.