MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Stephen Jackson puts his heart and soul into the Allen Iverson classic.
“It means a lot to me because I didn’t have it growing up and I know how important that would’ve been to me,” Jackson said.
The event is not only to honor A.I., but to instill as much as he can into these players on and off the court.
“I’m giving them the lessons and the experiences that I have so they won’t make the same mistakes that I made,” said Jackson. “And I think I’m making that clear to them – good job boy, way to work. Be ready – see I love that, I love that. And that’s what I want to be with them. I don’t want to be a type of guy that drilling in their ear, telling them what they don’t need to do. Nah, I’m somebody that you can live through and learn from.”
“It was fun to meet Josh because he’s very versatile, he can handle the ball, he can shoot,” Lawson said after the group’s first practice. “He’s very athletic.”
Minott said that versatility is the reason he chose the U of M over programs like Baylor and Dayton.
“I just really liked the way they went about their player development,” said Minott. “Penny Hardaway as well, him being such a big guard – as they like to call it. I figured if anyone could teach me the way I want to play, that big guard style, it’d be him considering he’s the most successful to ever do it.”
Minott watched a lot of Tigers basketball this past season. The 6′ 8″ small forward is hoping to come in an make an immediate impact.
“I feel like I bring somewhat of like a facilitator to the team,” Minott said. “I know a lot of times – earlier in the season, at least – it looked like a little bit of separate pieces. So, I’m really hoping to see if I can be that gel.”
This week, Minott and Lawson will also get a lot of visibility from NBA scouts. For the first time ever, the League approved team reps to attend this type of event.
“A lot of kids missed out on playing and being seen,” Jackson said. “To have NBA scouts here is beautiful – the first time. And for these kids to be able to play in this professional environment and know that they have scouts and other guys watching them, it’s exciting to them and it makes them want to go back and tell the other kids, so we can have those same kids come back next year.”
And they’ll be coming back to the Bluff City, a place Jackson said has made him feel right at home.