Frank Jackson To Don First USA Basketball Jersey At April 9 Nike Hoop Summit
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It did not matter to Frank Jackson (Alpine, Utah) that he scored 38 points in his final game for Lone Peak High School, or that his team reached the quarterfinals of the Utah High School Athletic Association 5A state tournament, or that he finished his prep career with 2,084 points to rank sixth on Utah’s all-time high school scoring list.
“I definitely wanted to win state, like really bad, more than anything,” Jackson said. “We weren’t able to get it done. It stung at first, and it still kind of does, but I still have a lot more basketball to play. It was a fun season. Definitely the most fun I’ve ever had. I love all my teammates, and they are very supportive.”
Jackson said what did help was not only having a new event to focus on, but an event that would provide him with his first chance to take the court wearing a USA Basketball jersey. On March 3, Jackson was named to the 2016 USA Junior National Select Team that will take on the World Team in the 19th annual Nike Hoop Summit at 12 p.m. (PDT) on April 9 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
“It is an honor and a privilege,” Jackson said of his selection. “It’s an honor to be on the team. You have the best players from all around the country. Growing up, you see kids competing, and you are always watching the Olympics. I just think it’s real cool.”
While it will be Jackson's first 12-member USA Basketball roster, it will be his second USA Basketball experience. In October 2015, Jackson and nine of his 2016 USA teammates took part in the 2015 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October minicamp. Also present were L.J. Goolsby (KC Run GMC, Kan.), who will be head coach of the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Team, and Eric Flannery (St. Edward H.S., Ohio), who will be the assistant coach.
“I had the chance to go to a camp a couple of months ago, and I thought it was great,” Jackson explained. “It was new. I know some of the kids, but at the same time, it was a lot of kids that I hadn’t played with. It was a cool experience to learn from some great coaches and some guys who really know their stuff. It was cool to play in a different environment. It was tough at times. The competition was great, but I think overall it was a really good experience.
“We will have time in practice, and we should be fine,” Jackson said of the chemistry among the USA team members. “Everyone on the team is a great person and a great player. They want to win. Everybody wants to win. So, we have to come together as a team and play together.”
Jackson averaged 10.1 points per game as a freshman on the Lone Peak varsity squad, he won a state title while averaging 17.9 ppg. as a sophomore and he averaged 26.8 ppg. to help his team to the quarterfinals as a junior.
You can add that to a resume that saw him play using FIBA rules at the Adidas Eurocamp in the summer of 2015 in Italy.
“To be mentally tough,” Jackson responded when asked how he prepares himself for tough competition. “To know that you are always going to play hard, and that it will be fine. There are always going to be ups and downs in basketball. You just got to look past that and keep pushing and be confident in your abilities and try to stay positive as much as you can.”
Trusting in his preparation also means that Jackson is working out before and after school, during the season and during the offseason.
“Every day, I try to get 600 to 700 shots up, whether that is from a gun or game shots,” he explained. “And with the season ending, I have started to lift again. I’ll lift in the morning, get my shots up after that, and then later that evening, I’ll go to the gym again and do the same thing.”
Beyond the April 9 Nike Hoop Summit, Jackson has just a few months before he heads to Duke University, where he has signed a National Letter of Intent and will start summer school in July.
And while he said he is excited to transition to the next level, his current focus is on helping the USA record a win in the Nike Hoop Summit.
“It’s a privilege and an honor, and I’m going to play as hard as I can,” Jackson said. “To represent this great country that we live in is something that I’ve always dreamed of as a kid. To be able to play for my country is a amazing and it’s a dream come true.
“I’m looking forward to playing hard in hopes of winning.”
Tickets for the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit are on sale now. Lower bowl seating starts at just $10, and courtside seats are $35 and $50. Service charges apply. Tickets are available at bit.ly/NHXtix, the Rose Quarter Box Office or by calling 800-745-3000.