Meet Luke Jackson

On Thursday, July 1, the Cavaliers first-round draft choice, Luke Jackson, made his first appearance at the Gund. He and his parents traveled from Crestfall, Oregon to meet the media and staff in his first press conference. Check out what the newest Cleveland Cavalier had to say....

Jim Paxson: Thank you. First of all, I'd like to welcome everybody here. It's an important time for us to announce Luke Jackson as part of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but first I'd like to introduce Luke's parents, Steve and Kathy from Crestfall, Oregon.

A week ago when we were looking at our options and seeing how this Draft might fall, and to find a player that we thought would be a good fit for us, you never know how things might go until the night evolves and we felt very good about getting Luke at the No. 10 pick in the first round. Some of you have heard already, not only is he excited to be here, but we think he's going to be a great compliment to our team now and in the future. And he and Coach Silas and Steven Silas were in the gym last night shooting jumpers at about 8:15 after he got in, so he's going to get to work right away.

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome the newest Cavalier, Luke Jackson.

Luke Jackson: I feel really blessed to be in this situation and you know I'm excited about Cleveland; it's a really good fit for me and I'm going to be a hard worker and I'm a team player so I think I'll be fine.

Q: Luke, why number 33?

Jackson: Well, I've been wearing 33 for a long time, even back in high school. As a kid, I liked Larry Bird, so I think I'm going to stick with it.

Q: Was (Bird) your favorite player?

Jackson: He was one of my favorite players growing up and still is.

Q: Do you try to pattern some of your game after him?

Jackson: He was just a great competitor and he just knew how to play the game. And I admire those traits about him.

Q: It looked on draft night that you might wind up in Indiana ...

Jackson: The whole draft process is really interesting because you don't know where you're going to end up, but I was really happy to come here. I felt like this was probably the best fit, with the way I play and the way Cleveland plays, so I'm excited about the fit.

Q: As the draft approached, your stock started to rise. Was it because of the workouts?

Jackson: Just having a little exposure and teams seeing that I'm more athletic and a really competitive guy and I don't shy away from anybody and just seeing me up close and in person. I wasn't going to shy away from any workouts and just play my game and let teams see who I am, it just helped out a lot.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your defense and what will it be like playing with LeBron?

Jackson: First and foremost, you have to be able to defend to even get on the court, and I want to be considered a great defender. You have to be able to play on both ends if you're even going to be considered a good player. So, I'm a hard worker and I'm going to do what anybody says and give it my best on defense.

As far as playing with LeBron, I think it's important that surround guys like him with the right kind of players who know how to win, who are great competitors and I feel like I fit that mold and hopefully I can be part of something special here in the future.

Q: What position do you think best suits you?

Jackson: A lot of guys are calling me a "point forward" but I think the 2 and the 3 are my true positions.

Q: Luke, what do you expect to accomplish and second, as a kid growing up in Oregon, were you a Jim Paxson fan?

(Paxson: He's too young to be a Jim Paxson fan.)

Jackson: Yeah, I was. I'm just excited to come in and work hard and get my feet wet. You can only have so much expectations and then you just have to go in and pay your dues, work hard and see what happens and I'm looking forward to being part of the team.

Q: How much do you think playing four years in college prepared you for the next level?

Jackson: I think it's definitely helped me mentally understand the game a little more and be more mature on the court in certain situations and you have to have experience to be a good player and I think that helped me out. Staying four years, understanding my role on the team and certain situations you can't get until you've spent some time on the floor in those situations.

Q: Playing with a couple of former first round picks (Luke Ridenour and Fred Jones) and working four years in Coach Kent's system, how has that helped your preparedness as a first rounder in this league?

Jackson: I think the NBA, just because the 24-second clock picks up the tempo, that's the way we played in college and I think playing with Luke and Freddy where we pushed each other and made each other better, that'll make me a better teammate for guys in the NBA.

Q: You were the go-to guy in college and you're going to be expected to be a shooter here in Cleveland. Is it going to be difficult to adapt to the role as a shooter?

Jackson: I feel like I'm a versatile player, but being a leader at Oregon, you have to understand other guy's roles, so I'll understand my role, whatever it'll be. I'm a team player, and I win ballgames, so I just want to see where I'll fit in.

Q: It says in your bio that you played a little baseball. What position did you play and did you ever think about giving up basketball for baseball?

Jackson: I was a center fielder and pitcher. I was decent. The Padres even talked about drafting me this year, out of the blue. But I haven't picked up a baseball in about three years, but they see a left-hander who's 6-7 and can throw in the high 80s, so ....

Q: Do you feel like playing with LeBron will make you a better player and can you make him a better player?

Jackson: Obviously, there's a lot of pressure on teams to shut down LeBron every night, and I'm not exactly sure what my role is going to be yet, but anything I can do to help his situation as far as being a team player who can knock down open shots and maybe spread the defense a little bit. I'll do the best I can.

Q: It's been said that you have a confidence that almost borders on cockiness. Can you talk about your faith in your ability.

Jackson: Well, I'm just a competitive guy and I don't think there's any reason to be scared of anyone on the court. If you're working hard, that's the best you can do. There's no reason to be shy on the basketball court. That's just the way I play.

Q: Can you create your own shot or will you have to rely on screens?

Jackson: Well, we'll find out, I guess. I'm going to work hard so I can.

Q: There's been comparisons to Chris Mullin. Who would you compare your game to?

Jackson: I'm kind of like a mix between Rip Hamilton and Doug Christie without the hand signals.

Q: I know you've looked up to Larry Bird as a player and you've heard his comments about the NBA being a black man's sport. Do you have any response to that?

Jackson: If people can play they can play. No comment. People just want to see the best players in the world and that's what the NBA is.