Prospect Profile: Rick Jackson

By Ricky Henne

In the days leading up to the NBA Draft, NYKnicks.com will look at the players brought in by the Knicks for Predraft Workouts. A player's inclusion in this series of articles does not necessarily reflect the Knicks organization's preferences for the June 23rd Draft.

We continue our series with a profile of Syracuse’s Rick Jackson

Over his four-year career at Syracuse, Rick Jackson proved himself to be the type of rugged, hardworking front court player that every team covets to do the dirty work.

But that doesn’t mean the 6-foot-9, 240-pounder with an impressive 7-1 wingspan doesn’t have skill.

Jackson averaged a double-double as a senior with 13.1 points and 10.3 rebounds along with 2.5 blocks. Although a tad undersized, he can play either the four or the five and thrives with his back to the basket. He is adept at using his body to put himself in the best position to get his shot off and shows an uncanny knack for using a variety of pump fakes. He also led the Big East in shooting percentage by connecting at a 58.8% clip.

Still, Jackson’s path to the NBA will be determined by his effectiveness on the defensive end and in the hustle department. Blessed with a quick jump and long arms, he is a superb shot blocker (leading the Big East in swats), which many feel will translate to the NBA level. He also absolutely dominated the Big East by averaging 10.3 boards per game while the next closest player only pulled in 8.7. Although he may not rebound at the same rate up against the bigger bodies of the NBA, he has the required skill-set to be a rotation player in most front courts.

Scouts have taken notice of Jackson’s work ethic, as he entered his senior year 30-pounds lighter after he was determined to shed some extra weight. If he continues on this current trajectory, it wouldn’t be a shock for the Syracuse standout to be one of the steals of the 2011 NBA draft.