Archive for Friday, July 18, 2008

Jackson, Robinson face off in Vegas

Best friends pulling for one another to succeed in NBA

July 18, 2008

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Teammates and best of friends for four years at Kansas University, Darnell Jackson and Russell Robinson took the court as adversaries Wednesday night.

"It was weird," Houston Rockets free-agent point guard Robinson said of competing against Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Jackson in Las Vegas NBA summer-league action.

"You kind of want to see him do really well, and at the same time you've got to compete. But I'm happy for him. He did play a really good game, and I'm just happy to be out here," Robinson told the Las Vegas Sun after a narrow 73-72 victory over Jackson's Cavs.

Robinson scored two points, dished three assists and had two rebounds in 26 minutes. Jackson, a second-round draft pick of the Miami Heat, who was traded to Cleveland for a 2009 second round pick on draft night, scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in 24 minutes.

"Before we won the (2008 NCAA) championship, we used to always say, 'Man, you never know, we might end up being on the same team or playing against each other,''' Jackson said.

"Seeing Russell out there today, it felt good because I know he wanted that and worked hard to get in that situation he's in now."

Robinson - he had seven points and five assists on Monday against Phoenix - realizes that as an undrafted player, it will be tough to make the Rockets Opening Day roster.

"It's just a big adjustment from college. You learn as you go," Robinson said. "It's a different intensity, and trying to adjust is the main thing ... A lot of one-on-one. The court is a little bigger than college, a little wider, and (there are) more athletes. (There's) higher intensity and more talent."

Jackson said he's living "a dream because I never thought this would happen. Now I have the chance to be out there on the court with LeBron (James). All the coaching staff and everybody, all the vets and everybody, they're helping me learn on and off the court."

James, of course, isn't playing summer-league ball, but will be on hand for the start of Cavs' fall training camp.

"I just don't want to let those guys down," Jackson said of his Cavs teammates. "My job is just to come in here and be on my horse and work hard every day. I know they're going to get onto me if I slack."

Jackson scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Monday's NBA debut against the New York Knicks.

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