June 25, 2009
Contact: Brian McCann
Today may be the biggest day in the life of recently-graduated CSU point guard Cedric Jackson.
With the annual NBA Draft set to take place in Madison Square Garden in New York city at 7:00 p.m. tonight, Jackson will finally find out in what direction the first days of his professional basketball career will go.
Jackson will be with family and close friends in Columbus, New Jersey for the event, making it home after spending the last couple of days working out in Maryland.
With just 60 picks in the two round draft this year, Jackson has fewer opportunities to be taken tonight than in the mid-70's when as many as 180 players were selected.
"This has been a nerve-wracking experience," Jackson told me when we talked this afternoon. "So much of this is out of my control and I hate that. The only thing that has been easy for me have been the workouts I had with some of the NBA teams because then I could let myself go and do the things that they wanted me to do."
Jackson did five private workouts since his collegiate playing career came to an end in mid-March. It was like a tour of the Horizon League as he visited the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers along with the Portland Trail Blazers. His fifth workout, at the Houston Rockets, included scouts from a number of teams.
"I thought my workouts went pretty well," Jackson told me. "I just did what I am capable of doing and worked hard."
Jackson will be trying to become the first Vikings since Clinton Smith in 1986 -- and eighth CSU player overall -- to be selected in the draft. If that doesn't happen, it won't slow him down.
"My agent (Dr. Charles Tucker) and I have gone through all the possibilities and not being picked will give me the chance to pick the team that I want to sign with and allow me to take the best opportunity to make an NBA roster next fall," Jackson said.
"I had some good opportunities to play overseas next year but we decided to pass them up because I want to play in the NBA next year," Jackson added.
One thing that Jackson did want to mention as that minutes ticked away to the start of the draft was his appreciation for the support of Viking basketball fans.
"Man, I am going to miss our fans a lot," he said. "Every time we went out on the court they made you feel special. I'm glad that we were able to have the kind of season that they deserved and I know that with Coach Waters in charge, more good things are ahead."
Hopefully, good things are ahead for Cedric Jackson as well.