July 21, 2009
New Jack CityRaps happy to land guard
By MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA
Durable, versatile, efficient, tough as nails, deadly from mid-range and a solid presence in the locker room.
All were words used yesterday to describe 25-year-old guard Jarrett Jack, the latest puzzle piece in Bryan Colangelo's rebuilding of the Raptors. The team officially announced the four-year, $20-million US deal Jack agreed to after the Indiana Pacers declined to match the Raptors offer.
But to really get an inside look at Jarrett Jack, the man, consider this response he offered when asked what, or who, it was that encouraged him to put such a high value on being a good teammate.
“My parents growing up,” he said, gesturing to father Carlton and mother Louise sitting adjacent to the podium. “Whenever my father was cooking in the neighbourhood, he wasn’t just cooking for me or my younger brother. He was cooking for anyone who needed a plate,” Jack said.
“If you didn’t have a plate that night, you knew there was food enough in the Jack household.
“My mom, she helped out in our youth basketball organization and if somebody was having a tough time at home, she would have them come to our house. We might not have a bed for you but we would make room.”
And that in a nutshell is Jarrett Jack today. Doing what he can to make the people around him successful. He did it at Georgia Tech where he roomed with good friend Chris Bosh for a season. He did it in Portland for two seasons and the did it last year with the Pacers.
It explains in part, too, why Jack has been on Colangelo’s radar not just this off-season but for the past few years.
“He has been a guy we have targeted in various trade conversations dating back to his time in Portland,” Colangelo said. “This year he was right at the top of the list as far as that mid-level (exemption) usage goes.”
The fact that Jack is one of Bosh's best friends in the NBA is just icing on the cake.
“This was driven purely by basketball reasons,” Colangelo said. “The fact that they have a relationship is only a positive thing for us. We are going to try and build this basketball team and make it as competitive as possible and make it difficult for Chris to leave. If this is one more reason for him to stay, then that’s great, but I hope it’s for basketball reasons that Chris decides to stay.”
Bosh, in town filming one of his many off-court projects, warned his friend, whom he joined for dinner the night before along with rookie DeMar DeRozan, that he would be making a cameo appearance at yesterday’s presser and true to his word he showed up just as things were winding down.
Jack pledged to do his part to ensure Bosh, who could jump ship after this season, returns. He was asked if he thought he would be able to keep him around longer than the one year the two shared together at Georgia Tech before Bosh opted for the NBA draft.
“I hope so man, but the last time I played with him and he left, we went to the championship without him so he might be the one holding us back,” Jack joked before adding on a more serious note. “I think with what we do this year, we can put a lot of pressure on him to come back.”
That's quite a turnaround for an organization that was contemplating the worst just three short months ago.
If Jarrett Jack has proved one thing in his three years in the league and his college career, it is that the concept of a day off is completely foreign to him.
He is one of only 11 players in the NBA that has not missed a game in two consecutive seasons.
In his rookie year in Portland, he played in 79 of the 82 games, which means he has missed just three games his entire NBA career. He also started every game of his Georgia Tech career except Mar. 5, 2005 against Clemson which was Tech's senior day.
He’s also not a guy you're going to hear complain much either.
“One thing I have always tried to do is just be the best teammate possible,” he said. “With that comes trying to do anything they call on you to do. Starting, coming off the bench, playing point guard, playing shooting guard, leading the cheers, anything that they feel is necessary.”
As it stands now, Jack likely is looking at a sixth-man role in Toronto unless 19-year-old rookie DeMar DeRozan isn’t quite ready to fill the hole at shooting guard.
WHAT’S LEFT TO DO
With two spots open on his 15-man roster, it would appear Bryan Colangelo's makeover is just about complete but those last two spots aren’t going to be filled easily.
Colangelo would like to get another big man for the bench and more help on the wing. He has the rights to Carlos Delfino to address the latter, but the former Raptor has a considerable offer from the Russian League team he spent last year with to consider.
On the big man front, talk of bringing Rasho Nesterovic back into the fold remains on the front burner.
Colangelo sounded yesterday like those two players would be his first choice for the remaining two slots but is confident that if one or both can't be worked out he has other avenues he can explore.