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Thunder: Rookie Reggie Jackson will not lack effort

It is not uncommon for Jackson to arrive at Chesapeake Energy Arena four hours before a game's tip-off to get in a customary pre-game workout.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 8, 2012

Is Reggie Jackson ready?

That was the question everyone wanted to know when news broke that Eric Maynor would miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.

“Only tonight and the rest of the season will prove it,” Jackson said Sunday, 90 minutes before being bumped up to point guard as Russell Westbrook's primary backup. “I've prepared myself as much as I can up to this point. But we'll see. I'm definitely going to come out with a tremendous amount of confidence.”

In his first game receiving meaningful minutes, Jackson scored 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting while chipping in four assists and one rebound. He turned it over twice but showed poise and, most importantly, promise that suggests the Thunder will be all right with a rookie now running the second unit.

“I thought he did a good job,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “That's a tough position, to be the backup point guard. And I thought he did well. He really controlled the team.”

Those words were once reserved for Maynor.

Now, the Thunder must adjust without one of the league's steadiest floor generals. Maynor, you could argue, was the team's second best passer and playmaker behind James Harden. When Maynor came to town, Oklahoma City's second unit became one of the best in basketball.

“Eric has been a great extension of the coaching staff on the floor,” Brooks said. “He has a great feel for that second unit, and we've always felt that our second unit had a chance to either increase the lead or catch up if needed.”

That's what's at stake with this shake-up.

But Brooks has raved about Jackson's training regimen. Jackson, Brooks has often said, might put in too many hours. Brooks called Jackson a sponge who just “wants more.”

“Those were my games,” Jackson explained, “working out and preparing myself just in case something like this happens, which none of us ever wanted to happen.”

Jackson's assigned assistant coach is Brian Keefe. Before games, after shoot-arounds and any time the practice schedule permits, the two pair up to improve Jackson's game. It's not uncommon for Jackson to arrive at Chesapeake Energy Arena four hours before tip-off to get his customary pre-game workout in.

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by Darnell Mayberry
Assist Editor/ NBA Coordinator
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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