NORWICH – Rick Jackson was one of the most improved basketball players in the Big East Conference this past season. Now just a few days away from graduating with his degree in sociology at Syracuse University, the reigning conference Defensive Player of the Year was in Norwich Wednesday evening to do a “meet and greet” at Leigh Baldwin and Company, a business after hours function that was done in association with Commerce Chenango. Jackson sat down for a short interview with Evening Sun Sports Editor, Patrick Newell, to discuss his career, his offseason conditioning, and his prospects for the 2011 NBA Draft scheduled June 23 in Newark, N.J.
PN: “Leigh Baldwin has had a number of Syracuse University athletes work as interns for him. What is your association with Leigh, and do you do this type of stuff often?”
RJ: “I met him through another person, and I heard there is a big Syracuse following around here...I wanted to come here and meet new people. Wherever I can go and show my face...it’s always good to see the kids.”
PN: “Your offseason conditioning last summer is well document, and you came into this season a lot lighter. What did you do to make yourself the player you were this year?”
RJ: “It was a lot of indoor running and being in the gym a lot. I was trying to get my body right and change the way I ate. I was eating a lot a cakes and candy. I tried to watch what I eat, work out, and live in the gym. It helped me lose 20 pounds.”
PN: “ Did losing the weight make you a better player?”
RJ: “Yes. I think it helped me get off the ground quicker. I think it helped as far as sliding my feet when I was guarding little guys, and I was more mobile at the four (power forward) position.”..