Players in Review: Darnell Jackson

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Darnell Jackson became the answer to a trivia question when he became the first NBA player assigned to the BayHawks by one of their NBA affiliates, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers.

Jackson won a national title as a member of the 2008 Kansas Jayhawks before being drafted in the second round (number 52 overall) by Miami and being traded to Cleveland. According to the rules, NBA rookies or second-year players can be assigned to the D-League as many as three times during the season.

Jackson was first sent to play for Erie against the Utah Flash on February 9. Jackson’s impact was felt as he scored 24 points on 10-14 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in 26 minutes in helping the BayHawks to a 101-89 victory.

His second appearance was March 18 versus the Austin Torros. Jackson again played about 26 minutes, scoring 15 points on 5-9 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. Once again, the BayHawks won, this time by a final count of 114-106.

While his stats didn’t blow away the competition, his presence inside certainly kept the defense honest and the 2-0 mark with Jackson in the lineup is worth noting.

It’s surprising to me that neither Philadelphia nor Cleveland took advantage of this opportunity more often. The Cavs used three other rookies during the year: forwards J.J. Hickson and Jawad Williams, and guard Tarence Kinsey.

For the Sixers, I can understand why rookie Marreese Speights and second-year star Thaddeus Young weren’t sent down to the BayHawks as they played regular minutes for the team. But that doesn’t explain why the seven-footer, second-year man, Jason Smith, wasn’t given the chance to develop in the D-League.

I’m of the opinion that there’s no way to get better at playing basketball than by playing basketball. If a young player isn’t getting minutes on the NBA level, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to give him some D-League minutes.

I think it helped Jackson. (He went on to score 15 points and grab eight rebounds in 42 minutes on the final night of the season in a game the Cavs lost in overtime against Philadelphia.) And I think it would help other young players. Here’s to hoping the Cavs and Sixers utilize this option more frequently next season.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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