Last week, former Rutgers basketball star Kadeem Jack received great news as he continues to pursue his NBA dreams.
The Orlando summer league takes place from July 2nd through 8th and is a great opportunity for players to make a name for themselves within NBA circles. The competition is mixed between newly drafted rookies and players looking for an invitation to a team's training camp ahead of next season.
Jack had a solid rookie campaign last season, playing in the NBA's Developmental League with affiliates for both the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings. He was signed by the Pacers and was assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants after attempting to make their squad in training camp. Jack played in 15 games for the Pacers D-League team, averaging 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in almost 13 minutes per game. He then transitioned to the Reno Bighorns, the Kings D-League affiliate. Jack's performance improved, as he averaged 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in almost 15 minutes of action per game. He stepped up his game even more in the D-League playoffs, averaging 13 points and 7.3 rebounds in 28 minutes per game.
Jack is the type of player that has a lot of upside based on his athleticism and high motor. He is also developing his outside shot, making him a more dangerous and versatile offensive player. This article compares Jack to longtime NBA player Trevor Ariza. Hopefully he can follow the same career path as the former New York Knicks player. Here are highlights of Jack scoring 22 points in early March, which was a career high.
Now he will have a opportunity to display his potential for the Detroit Pistons at next week's summer league. I was fortunate to have a chance to ask Jack about his journey from Rutgers to the pro ranks. Jack, who finished his Rutgers career with 1,000 plus points, 500+ rebounds, and 100 blocks, was kind enough to take time to give us insight on his current pursuit to make an NBA roster. Here is what Jack had to say as he prepares for the Orlando summer league next week.
Kadeem, your first year of pro ball was full of different experiences, between your invite to training camp with the Indiana Pacers, playing for their D-League team in Fort Wayne, before finishing the D-League season with the Sacramento Kings affiliate in Reno. Can you talk about what you learned from this past year and how it's helped you improve as a player?
I think the biggest thing I learned this season is how important it is to have fun on the court. I work hard every day to improve my game. I put the time in. So when it comes to the games, I play with intensity, but I also try to enjoy myself.
What part of your game have you been working the hardest to improve on?
My perimeter game. I shot it pretty well from three-point range last season in Reno. Now I need to expand my game, in the mid-range, and play-making for others off the dribble.
What have you been doing in the offseason to stay in game shape and prepare yourself for any opportunities that come your way? What are your expectations for the summer league in Orlando?
I work out at every day either at Rutgers, or at Monmouth, with Larry Marshall, who is my trainer and also one of my mentors. My expectations for Orlando is just to play hard and enjoy myself. I feel like if I do that, it will be a positive experience.
After playing in three different conferences and for two different head coaches in college, how did playing at Rutgers prepare you for your pro career so far?
We played against a lot of great players and I was able to compete at a high-level, both in the Big East & Big Ten conferences. We also had a lot of talent at Rutgers, so competing with them every day in practice made me a better player.
What did Mike Rice help you with the most in terms of your personal development and your game? Same with Eddie Jordan?
Both coaches had a big impact on my development, both on and off the court.
Have you had a chance to speak/meet with new Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell? Have you talked to any of your former teammates still in the program and if so, have they given you any insight to Pikiell and any changes within the program?
I did meet with coach (Steve Pikiell) recently and he seems like a great guy. My Agent (BJ Bass) is a Long Island guy and he spoke very highly of coach, having known him at Stony Brook. There seems like a good buzz around campus and I'm looking forward to watching my guys this season.
Thanks again to Kadeem for answering my questions and we wish him good luck in Orlando next week.