Lakeem Jackson (RheinStars) We Still Want To Make The Playoffs But We Have To Take These Games One At A Time

Lakeem Jackson is a 24 year old 196cm forward from Charlotte, North Carolina that is playing his professional season and first in Germany with German Pro A team RheinStars. He played his first two professional seasons with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL). He started his basketball career in 2009 with South Carolina(NCAA) where he played a total of 120 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 7.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 33.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 74-69 loss against the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau.

Lakeem thanks for talking to German Hoops A tough 74-69 loss to the Hebeisen Baskets Hanau. After an offensive second and third quarter, where did both teams find the energy to buckle down and give that extra on the defensive end in the fourth quarter?

I think it just came from both teams wanting to win.

The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau had an annoying 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Was that the ultimate dagger that cut into the heart of the RhieinStars?

I don’t think that was the case. Down the stretch of the 4th we had some free throws that didn’t fall and also some rebounds we didn’t come up with.

The RheinStars got crushed on the boards 53-28. Do you ever remember getting hit for 22 offensive rebounds in your career?

Yeah that was definitely the part of the game that hurt us the most. But we still had a chance to tie the game with 8 seconds left. Which is really rare.

Kruize Pinkins had the number of the RheinStars this season combining for 38 rebounds and this time around had an even better game with 25 points and 20 rebounds. What makes this guy seemingly impossible to control?

It was mostly our fault. We didn’t box him out and gave him easy positioning under the basket. He’s a big guy who knows how to use his frame.

If you could pick one positive thing from this loss, could one laud the overall defense which kept a very strong team at the moment to 74 points?

One positive could be that as a team we played some solid help defense. We just couldn’t end the possessions with a rebound.

Hanau is one of the hottest teams in the German Pro A and are closer than ever of reaching the playoffs. How has the team improved since your first meeting in Hanau?

Our last match they had a different American big guy. They were pretty much the same team.

The RheinStars Cologne are riding a 7 game losing streak. Reaching the playoffs was never a goal at the start of the season, but the team was in the playoff race for a long time. Is the team mentally even prepared to think about it now or is it better just to go one game at a time and finish the season strong?

Right now everyone still wants to make the playoffs. But we have to take these games one at a time.

The RheinStars are a very young team. Is the fact that the season is very long that the club has felt the fatigue factor as of late as a reason for the team fading?

Yes we are a young team, which kind of factors out the fatigue part of the game. It’s mainly just mental errors.

The club has only averaged 66 points in the seven game losing streak. Why has the team had had so much trouble putting points on the board?

The team that we’re equipped with is not going to out score many teams. Which goes back to the mental/defensive breakdowns from the previous question. As a team, if we can piece together a full game with limited mental errors and manage to control the boards. We can put ourselves in transition situations to get some fast break points.

What will be key for the team now to get out of this funk besides sticking together?

Individual accountability.

How tough has the 7 game losing streak been for you as one of the veterans? Do you become more of a vocal leader now or how do you lead the team best now in these tough times?

It’s been really tough. But I’m more of a guy that leads by example. My teammates are professionals, so that’s how I treat them on the court.

You have had a pretty solid season, but when things aren´t going as well, do you see yourself having to step up even more now with a very young team?

Every game is different. I just try to stay consistent and do the things I know that I can do. At times I may have to step up and play more minutes or guard different match ups.

How did you see the NBA trades recently at the deadline? What teams did the best?

I’m not really familiar with most of the trades. The only trade I was able to see was Joe Johnson who went to the Miami Heat. I think that the Heat got a really good player.

Some of the older NBA players that played at different times are having a hard time giving Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors credit for their success saying they might not have had that success 20-30 years ago. Are these former players just jealous or why can´t they just give credit where it´s due?

Basketball players are always going to stay competitive no matter how old in age they become. What Steph and the Warriors are doing is phenomenal. If those guys can stay healthy I don’t see anyone stopping them.

Recently ESPN made a top 100 greatest NBA players of alltime poll putting Lebron at #3 before legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and BIll Russell. Do you see that as being justified?

It’s a tough conversation. Lebron is basically an athletic Magic Johnson, but doesn’t play the point position.

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

The Departed.

 

Thanks Lakeem for the chat.

 

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