Bobby Jackson

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Bobby’s back, and he’s not the same guy

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Bobby Jackson this week begins his first season as Minnesota Timberwolves player development coach.  He returns to the area where some of his greatest athletic exploits are well-documented. Jackson starred for two seasons at the University of Minnesota (1995-97), where in his senior year he was named the Big Ten’s top player and helped the Gophers reach the 1997 NCAA national semifinals. From there, the guard became an NBA draft pick and logged a dozen seasons (1997-2009) with six teams, including the Wolves (1998-2000), and was the 2003 NBA Sixth Man during his tenure with Sacramento. “I think I had a decent career at both levels,” says Jackson humbly. After retiring as a player, Jackson first became a scout, then an assistant coach at Sacramento for two seasons. Continue Reading →

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Final 4 memories

 

 

 

As this year’s NCAA tournaments crown new men’s and women’s national champions, this reporter took a stroll down my own memory lanes. I didn’t begin watching college hoops until the mid-to-late 1960s – I sneaked downstairs and watched the UCLA-Houston game played in the Astrodome on television – it was past my bedtime.  As a result, I watched Lew Alcindor (UCLA 1967-69) but not Bobby Joe Hill of Texas Western (1966), the first national champion with five Black starters. The UCLA great — now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, guards Earvin Johnson (Michigan State 1978-79) and Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State 1998-2000); and forwards Keith Wilkes (UCLA 1972-74) and David Thompson (North Carolina State 1974) are my personal five-player, all-time great tournament team. Georgetown (1983-84) always will be my all-time championship team simply because the Hoyas were the first men’s national champs coached by a Black man.  The UCLA squads (1966-69; 1971-73), N.C. State (1973-74), Indiana (1975-76), Michigan State (1978-79) and UNLV (1989-91) ranks just right behind them. If I had to choose the most memorable historic moment, although I didn’t witness it, it would naturally be Texas Western’s 1966 title win. Continue Reading →

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HBCU Tennessee State plays Gophers here this week

Cupcakes — this is the insulting term local media often uses to undervalue, underestimate and margainize the Gophers men’s basketball non-conference opponents each season. Former coach Clem Haskins hated such annual references to his early-season schedule, which included at least one Historically Black College and University (HBCU) school each year. “Not only is it financially beneficial to them [the visiting team gets a guaranteed payout plus a portion of the gate receipts], but it also exposes them to a great city and a great atmosphere and Big Ten basketball,” explains Gopher Coach Tubby Smith on scheduling Tennessee State (TSU) at Williams Arena this Thursday at 7 pm. “That’s what we try to do on a yearly basis.”

Nearly 20 players who played at TSU, including Dick Barnett, Leonard “Truck” Robinson and Anthony Mason, were later drafted and distinguished themselves with long pro careers in the NBA. The late John McLendon, who learned and put into practice the fast break from James Naismith, won over 87 percent of his games as head coach in the 1950s. Continue Reading →

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