Luke Jackson RumorsAll NBA Players
Jackson, a former standout at Oregon, was the 10th overall pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2004 NBA draft. In a pro career cut short by injuries, Jackson played for the Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat. He also played professionally in Italy and Israel.
Twelve years ago this week Smith was in this same building, then called Gund Arena, when he first thought of playing with James. The draft was a couple weeks away and he was in town to work out for the Cavs as they considered who to draft with the 10th overall pick. Coming out of high school, he thought he was the type of dynamic scorer who could play and grow next to James. He thought the workout went great. He had good conversations with then-coach Paul Silas. He started to get used to the idea of playing in Cleveland. But when draft night came the Cavs took a four-year college player, Luke Jackson from Oregon, because they didn’t think it was wise to have two teenagers on their roster.
“I tore my hamstring completely off the bone,” he says. It was perhaps a symbolic injury that sums up Jackson’s basketball odyssey over the past decade: a promising career ripped away, torn apart before it really ever got going. You get the idea. But if you came here, to the basketball arena at Eugene’s private, liberal arts college, looking for a woe-is-me chronicling of a what-could-have-been career, you’ve come to the wrong place. And to the wrong guy.
His 6-foot-7 frame is covered by a new white polo shirt that is tucked into his gray jeans. When he speaks, his words are calm and measured, though surprisingly honest. At one point, he turns to reveal the back of his right leg, then touches a spot just below his hip and runs his index finger down toward the back of his knee. It’s there that he suffered the last in a series of frustrating injuries, this one derailing his last real shot at a return to the NBA a few years ago.