How did the recovery go after the Jordan game injury?
Frank Jackson Thankfully I’m feeling a lot better, it was rough for several days after everything happened and my head hurt, but I’m a lot more back to normal now.
Anything or anyone in particular that was overly helpful in the recovery?
You know, we had a really nice doctor at the Jordan game that helped me as it happened and afterwords. He was a really nice guy and I definitely slept and rested a lot. I was actually originally supposed to fly out Saturday morning but he didn’t think that was such a good idea, so I stayed until Sunday afternoon and then flew back home. I didn’t work out anything after that, I’m supposed to start working out in a couple of days. The doctor told me I should be fine to work out once I don’t feel light headed when I do initial exercises and workouts.
What do you remember about the immediate moments after the concussion?
I didn’t know what happened, I blacked out. The only thing I remember was maybe walking a bit and then I remember being on the training table. My head was hurting and I had blacked out, it was really scary because I had never experienced that kind of thing before and I didn’t know what was going on. Then the next hour I got my bearings back and was a little bit better, but I couldn’t even answer some simple questions the doctor was asking me, but it got better throughout the day and the night and then the very next day I woke up and it started all over again, my head was killing me, so I was glad to start getting better after that.
What was the reaction from the family?
I think I scared some people because for that first hour I couldn’t really respond to anybody and I wasn’t on my phone for basically the whole night, so all people saw was that I had smacked my head on the court and they didn’t know what was going on, they were really worried for me. Luckily things didn’t get worse, I mean it was bad, but it definitely could have been a lot worse. I heard from everyone from the Duke staff pretty quickly. Coach K and I talked on like Saturday I think it was, we caught up a little bit. All the assistants texted me and checked on me, it was fine. They all love me and support me, which is awesome. It feels great to know they care about you and how quickly they checked on me after everything happened, it was great to have their support, it meant a lot.
Concussion and injury aside, what was the All-Star game circuit like?
It’s something I’ve always dreamed of since I was a little kid. I mean I’m still a kid and I’m still growing, but to have these experiences really meant the world to me. We got to meet some really cool people through them and they gave us some really nice stuff we got to take with us, it felt like they were treating us like we were already professionals which was cool. Just being at the events was a real blessing especially with being around all the other guys. I’m really happy I got a chance to be a part of those events.
Out of all the experiences and conversations you got to have through those events, what were some of the top memories?
They were all great but probably the McDonald’s game for me was huge. We got to hear some speakers that were great, they got us involved with the Ronald McDonald house and that was an awesome experience. I think overall the McDonald’s was the overall best experience for me with the history behind it and to be a part of the legacy of that was really great for me. The Ronald McDonald house was really great for me, there were a ton of us there so the ratio of us to the people who were staying there was a little off, but at the same time we got to meet some of the kids and their families and hear their stories which was really great. It gave us some great perspective on our lives because you know how blessed and fortunate you are to play the game of basketball, so to see how the kids responded to us and to get to spend time with them, I’ll never forget it.
Did you ever imagine that you would end up being the McDonald’s All American Game Slam Dunk Champion?
No, absolutely not. Especially when you are growing up and you see all the guys, absolute legends who have won that. I knew I could dunk a little bit, but I didn’t think I was going to win. It was awesome to win that.
What kind of pre-game preparation did you do for the contest?
Really I just thought about them in my mind and went out and did them. I just tried to be free when I went up.
You got to hang around with former Blue Devil Jay Williams for the week, right?
Man, Jay is great, he’s just great. It was awesome to spend time with him and he gave one of the most awesome talks I’ve ever heard. I like his perspective in how it’s not all about basketball and I really valued the words he was sharing and how he was open about his story. It was great. We had talked a little bit before all that and we got to know each other a little bit. I’ve really grown to like him a lot.
And you had some future teammates there as well…
Oh man, Harry and Jayson are two really cool dudes that I admire and love to hang out with. We’re all looking forward to playing together next season and it’s going to be a lot of fun. We can’t wait to get down there to Duke together.
Your dad mentioned you three are all going to be there in mid-May for summer school classes…
Yeah, I head out on the 17th. They were planning all along on being there at the same time. I think there may be like a week break or something after the first summer session before the second session, but really we’ve got one goal next year and that’s to win the national championship. That’s what we’re working towards right from there. We’re hoping that Marques Bolden also comes with us too, he’s the best big in the class and he’d be great on our team. We’re already going to be great, but to add Marques to that team would make us even better, hopefully he decides to join the Duke family. Marques is funny, and he’s a laid back guy. We’re hoping that he comes but I know he’s making the decision that’s right for him, so we’re hoping he comes.
Now that you know what the roster is likely to look like for this season, what are your thoughts on competing to run the point?
When I committed I knew that I was going to have to earn my spot and that hasn’t changed. I’m going to work my hardest to earn minutes and I want to play a lot of minutes next season so I know nothing will be handed to me. You have to earn your spot every single day and you have to bring it in practice all the time. I’m just looking at it like I have to earn my spot and go get it.
If you are able to earn minutes at the point guard spot, does that mean your game will need to change?
Yeah I think so. But, there’s no better way to learn than from Coach K himself and from his staff. I’m definitely going to be all ears when I get there and I’m definitely going to be asking a lot of questions from them, especially from Coach K since he played point guard. To be able to learn from him while I’m adjusting to that role will be great. I’ll definitely be looking to learn what he looks for in the guy who runs the team, what to do with the ball, how to be in the right spots at the right time, questions like that will really help me.
What are your thoughts on Grayson Allen coming back?
Oh yeah, that’s my guy. We’re real excited that he’s back. I can’t wait to be with him, hang out but it’s really going to be about challenging each other and helping each other and the team. I know he’s going to challenge me everyday. He’s older and he’s been there for two full seasons now so I know he knows what to do there. I’ll look to learn from him, I’ll be all ears.