Casey Jacobsen: "I feel really blessed to be here"
How do you feel playing a tough college conference like the Pac-10 prepared you for life in the NBA?
Casey Jacobsen: I played against a lot of players that are in the NBA right now and that are going to be in the NBA this year. I felt like the Pac-10 was probably the second-best conference in America the past three seasons that I’ve been there. I feel like I’m as prepared as anybody that’s coming out of college.
What were the major factors in your decision to forgo your senior year and enter the NBA draft?
CJ: What I wanted first and foremost was to be an NBA player. I have a goal of graduating, but graduating will still be there. The window of opportunity to the NBA is not always going to be there, so that was one (factor). Another was how good our team was going to be. I was anticipating that Curtis Borchardt was going to leave and he in fact did. If I had gone back to Stanford for my senior year, I would have probably had to carry that team. The media would have looked at me to carry that team. Playing for the number one team in the nation, doing so well in my first couple of years, that would have been a real hard thing to end a career having to kind of shoulder most of the burden for a team and just don’t think that I wanted to do that.
Where does your hard work and dedication come from?
CJ: My dad. My dad is one of those old-school fathers that has always disciplined, never let me mess around without getting punished, always made me do my homework. I had two older brothers and I was jealous of them. I wanted to be better than them. They were straight A students, they were star basketball players and I kind of resented that a little bit because I was in their shadow growing up. They motivated me. I’m a gym rat. I love basketball, I love playing and I love improving and I’m always in the gym getting better. But to me that’s not abnormal. That’s the way I grew up, that’s the way my dad taught me.
Your game has been compared to former Sun Dan Majerle, but one of the things that made Majerle a fan favorite was his involvement in the community. Do you plan to follow that lead?
CJ: You bet. That’s really important. I feel really blessed to be here, that’s the honest truth. I feel really grateful to have an opportunity to play professional basketball. I didn’t grow up thinking I was really going to be an NBA player until I got to college, then it started to become a reality. Now that I’m here, I want to use this opportunity not just to further my basketball career, but to influence young people in any way I can… I really feel that’s our responsibility.
What do feel are your weaknesses as you enter the NBA?
CJ: First of all, the NBA offensively is about one-on-one basketball and Stanford does not play like that. I’m going to have to get better and more accustomed to playing one-on-basketball. In high school and in college I ran a structured system, coming off screens, halfcourt. At the same time one of my complaints about Stanford, and I only have one or two, was that we didn’t run enough. As a result of that, I really felt like I never got any open shots. I mean, I want to run, I want to get out in the open court because that’s where you get lay-ups, you get jumpers, you get to have fun and create for teammates. I would rather play a more up and down tempo, but I’m comfortable with the structured system as well.
How do you feel about coming to a team that is in a rebuilding mode?
CJ: I think that will be a good thing… I can learn something from these guys and I am so excited about that. I don’t want to step on any toes when I come in here. I want to come in here humble and put on that hard hat. I’m going to come to work every day and I’m going to be open ears to the coaches and prove to (my) teammates that I will get better any way I can. I want to be a piece of a big puzzle and I’m excited about that.
Steven Koek is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com
Tell us what you think about this interview. E-mail us at HoopsHype@HoopsHype.com