How would you characterize your first game experience in Cameron?
Frank Jackson: Yeah it was such a great experience. The environment and the experience there, how the coaches and players relate to each other…it was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. I remember that it was crazy to me that the entire student section was already full even before the game had started, it was crazy to me that people came that early. It was just another level, it exceeded my expectations I would say a lot, I knew going in that it was going to be crazy, but to be able to see it in perso was really cool. The fans couldn’t have been more nicer and more supportive. They called me over to sit with the Crazies, it was everything it was advertised to be and more, they were louder than I even thought they would have been. Everyone there was great.
There were several other recruits there, did they have a lot questions for you?
Not really, but they asked a lot of Duke related questions, and they asked about my relationship with Coach K and the coaches, stuff about the program, that was about it.
How would you describe your relationship with Coach K at this point? Has it changed since the beginning of the process?
It’s mostly the same kind of stuff. I’m just more comfortable with him and with the staff now than when we first started talking. He checks up on me a good amount and he’s excited to have me there and helping me work on my game. I definitely trust him and look forward to playing for him.
What did you notice about how Coach K and the assistants coached the team during the game from your vantage point?
He’s pretty intense, he definitely gets into the game. He really cares about how tough the players are. That’s one of the things I heard him mention. You can see how much he cares about the players and them doing well. He motivates his guys. There’s a lot of teaching involved for sure, but they have great relationships with all of the players while also at the same time wanting to win. They are very clear with telling the guys what they expect of them, but the relationship is definitely there.
What did you think about how they ran their offense and defense?
Coach K really gives his players freedom is what I noticed. He tells his guys to just play basketball, that’s what he wants and he wants them to play hard and play great defense and play hard the whole game. The defense, they really guarded and really got after it.
Did the experience allow you to visualize your role next year or is that more formed by your conversations with the coaches?
I think I learn from both and we definitely see me as being able to come and try and make an impact right away. I know that if I put in the work and effort, I’ll be successful there—that’s what Coach K has said. I’m working on getting my strength up to get ready.
What did you think about how Duke’s backcourt was playing in the game you saw?
I can’t wait to play with all of them. They are all great guys and are friends—can’t wait to play with them.
Which players were you able to spend time with during the trip?
Everyone, really. I got to spend time with them and talk about life on campus, life as a basketball player and just different things to get ready for next year. They talked to me about what it’s going to be like for me when I get there next year and what I need to be doing now to get prepared. I feel like I’ve built a really great relationship with all of those guys.
What were your observations of watching them practice?
It was just a walk-through so it was a little quicker but I got to see how the coaches did their final preparations for a game with the guys there and then afterwords I got to see a smaller group of the guys workout with Coach James. He was working with Derryck and Chase Jeter, they were doing some different movement to shooting drills at different points on the floor, just some game-specific stuff. I got a little time to spend some time with the coaches before the game which was cool too.