Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tamir Jackson- Just Enjoying High School

Tamir "Pop" Jackson is one of the best players on St. Benedict's (NJ), and that's really saying something. Jackson is 6'2 junior guard with a nice stroke from downtown, and he is one of the key members of the national powerhouse Gray Bees. "Pop" had a shaky performance against in-state rival St. Patrick's on Friday the 8th at the Prime Time Shootout, but he rebounded big-time and had a tremendous game the next day against Our Savior New American (NY), grabbing MVP honors. After his outstanding performance, Tamir took some time to talk with me.

NB: You guys had a big game out there. You played really well at both ends of the court. You . . . played very well [yourself]. What went into that game? Was it a lot of preparation? You guys had a late game last night, how were you able to stay focused for the game today?
TJ: Our coach [Danny Hurley] just told us to work hard, take the game lightly, and respect the game of basketball, and that’s what we did.

NB: You personally, you hit a lot of threes. How were you able to play so well against a team like Our Savior New American?
TJ: Yesterday, I had an off night, so I myself . . . this morning, before the game that I’m going to come out here and play better.

NB: You guys had a big win last night against a big rival, St. Pat’s. How were you able to come off that emotional high, and at the same time stay focused for this game, and play at the same level you played at yesterday?
TJ: I guess because . . . we’ve played a lot of tough teams already, so we [are] used to coming out and playing another game right after.

NB: You guys are able to be ranked nationally for the second year [because] . . . you don’t have the [post-grads] on the team. What’s that like, being able to really compete for a national championship?
TJ: It’s a great experience, because everybody wants to say they [are] the number one high school in the country going into [the] AAU season, so you can talk trash to your friends.

NB: Is that part of the reason you became a Gray Bee, [to] be one of the best teams in the nation? [Was] that . . . part of your decision factor, because there’s a lot of big time New Jersey schools, like [St.] Anthony’s and [St.] Patrick’s?
TJ: Yeah, and to learn from Coach [Danny] Hurley and the players that came before me.

NB: Have you started thinking about colleges, or where you want to go? . . . Do you have any top choices?
TJ: Not right now.

NB: [Are you] just enjoying high school?
TJ: Yeah.

NB: Is there anything that you want to accomplish personally this season, for yourself?
TJ: Just to play [well], just to look good out on the court with other good players.

NB: What do you like the most about playing high school basketball?
TJ: It’s fun, it’s [a] lot of competitiveness, everybody works hard so they can say their team is better than [another] team, and just playing with the guys I play with now.

It's eveident that Tamir is focused on the here and now, which is a great trait for any athlete. When you look too far down the road, the presnt gets left behind, and "Pop" seems to be making sure that won't happen to him. Jackson's mindframe is going to be key when he does get further down the road, as he is certainly a DI caliber player, and he will have to keep his head on straight. Who doesn't love it when a kid is just enjoying high school and playing basketball, and not worrying about everything that comes with being a star?

Note- photo is from

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