Posted: June 27, 2002
Following Casey Jacobsen’s introductory press conference on Thursday, Suns.com sat down with his proud parents, Von and Becky Jacobsen, and his popular girlfriend, Brittney Blunt, who all traveled with Casey from the NBA Draft in New York for his America West Arena debut.
Suns.com: How proud are you today?
Von: Last night was just awesome, the feeling my wife and I both shared. We worked a long time with all our kids and the older boys probably paved the way for Casey. They probably don’t know that, but I’m sure Casey knows that. But for a mother and father to sit in that Green Room and to have that happen is something else.
Suns.com: At what point did you realize Casey had the talent that he could one day reach the NBA?
Von: Well, he was a little different than his brothers. He had the advantage of being the third son, being able to watch his brothers grow and get chewed out by dad. So that helped him, being the third boy. But I think Casey has quite a personality and he’s really not afraid of anything. He loves challenges and he loves to work. He works very hard at his game. I would never have to push Casey and remind him that he needed to go out and shoot every night. He would be there.
You know, probably when he was about 6 or 7 is when I really noticed it. I had hired some trainers to train his older brothers in specializing their shooting and Casey went along with us. Well, we were watching this film (of the training session) one day, my wife and me, and he’s in the background and he’s got better form than his brothers who were six, seven, eight years older. We were just going, “Wow.” And he had big feet and long arms. I think size certainly helped him, because you can coach kids so much, but when you get to a level like the NBA, very few guys make it unless they have the body. Casey was bigger and stronger than his brothers, so that made a big difference.
Suns.com: How do you feel about him joining the Phoenix Suns?
Von: We’re thrilled to death. I think there’s room here for him to play a lot. We’re certainly thrilled with the weather. We’re spoiled southern Californians, you know. We were looking last night when he came real close to Toronto picking him, we were thinking about where we were going to buy our coats and the winters. So that has a lot to do with it. But I just think he can help Phoenix. I know Phoenix has been down for a few years and he likes that. Any time Casey has a challenge or somebody tells Casey he can’t play in the NBA, or that he can’t be a good player, that’s what he loves and that’s what he thrives on. And we have relatives in Phoenix, so it’s going to be a great situation for him to have that support. We’ve always surrounded Casey with friends and family, and I think that’s pretty important in a kid’s life.
Suns.com: How exciting has this been for you? You must be so proud.
Becky: Oh, there’s nothing like it. There’s absolutely no feeling in the world. I just kept thinking when he was in high school, “It can’t get any better than this.” Then it kept getting better and I was thinking when he was in college, “It can’t get any better than this.” Last night was the ultimate, absolutely the ultimate. It was very, very exciting.
Suns.com: You’ve probably known for a while that he was going to make it to the NBA. But did you have any idea what it would be like going through this whole process?
Becky: No. Never ever. You know, our conversations in the last month have been about where we were going to be on Draft Day. Would we even be watching it on television? At one point I told everybody, “You guys, we have four televisions in our house, so each of us take a room and we’ll all be in separate rooms. We’ll be so anxious, we can’t even sit together. Then when he does get drafted, we’ll all come together in one room and celebrate.” Those were our conversations. Being at Madison Square Garden in the Green Room just came up last week and it was a whirlwind. That made it even more exciting.
Suns.com: Who was more nervous last night, you or Casey?
Becky: I don’t know. I’m really stuck on that one. I want to say him, but I don’t know why. We all had sweaty hands. It’s probably a toss up. We all kept saying we weren’t hungry and all that kind of stuff.
Suns.com: What to you expect for Casey in the NBA?
Becky: Oh gosh. Casey will be successful. Casey will find a way, some way, any way, whatever needs to be done, he will contribute. He just has so many positive things about him. He loves to give. So that’s just a formula for success. He loves the game of basketball and he gives his heart to it.
Suns.com: Is this something he dreamed about growing up?
Becky: You know, I don’t think as a family, as committed as we are to basketball, college was our goal. As far as the NBA, we kind of knew, you know, that you had to be tall, you had to be this and that to get to really get to this level. Maybe somewhere at the end of high school or college, it began to enter the picture.
Jacobsen's mother and girlfriend watch his introductory press conference from the front row.
(Jeramie McPeek/Suns Photos)
Brittney: This whole process has been a whole lot of hurry up and wait. It’s probably been the most stressful two months of my life, especially the last two weeks. I haven’t slept in about 10 days. I can’t eat. Prior to about 9:30 last night, I couldn’t eat. But now it is all exciting.
It is a dream come true. This really, honestly, truly was his top choice (of teams) and it is like a fairy tale. It wasn’t quite real until we showed up today and they handed him a jersey with his name across the back.
Suns.com: How proud of him are you?
Brittney: I can’t explain it. Beyond words. He is the hardest worker that I’ve ever met. He is an inspiration. Anyone who knows him, knows his determination. He deserves it. He has worked so hard and I feel like he was one of the most underrated players in the draft. I’m so happy for him.
Suns.com: Talk about the draft itself. How excited was he afterwards?
Brittney: Like I said, reality hadn’t sunk it. We didn’t get to see him while he was doing his media requirements and things. Then he got back and we just went back to dinner, and then went back to the hotel and couldn’t sleep. We were all just jumping around. We got about two hours of sleep, hopped on a plane and we’re here. So it’s kind of that no sleep, other world. We’re so excited.
Suns.com: You got a lot of attention on draft night and also in the media afterwards. Was that embarrassing for you?
Brittney: Oh, I was shaking. That’s another one that I couldn’t describe in words (laughs). My brothers have all called me already and given me a hard time. I’m not going to live that one down.