Skip to main content

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson: Duke Players Fail To Live Up To Expectations In The NBA

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson.

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson

On Monday, Charley Rose published the fourth article in a five-part ESPNseries about New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, and his attempt to gut and rebuild the team. While most of the focus, and the headlines, of the article, which is based on interactions with Jackson on January 10, focus on the Knicks trading Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith and committing to tanking the 2014-15 season, Jackson did reveal a bit of his draft thought process at the time. Specifically, he wasn't enamored with Duke center Jahlil Okafor, or Duke prospects in general, for that matter.

His time with the Bulls seems so long ago now, with the Knicks closer to picking at top of the draft than the top of the standings.

At best, the Knicks would get the first pick and tab center Jahlil Okafor, although Jackson thinks he might not be aggressive enough. "Also, if you look at the guys who came to the NBA from Duke, aside from Grant Hill, which ones lived up to expectations?"

That's a bit harsh coming from an NBA legend like Jackson, but not entirely untrue. The Blue Devils haven't had a ton of NBA superstars, but they consistently put people in the league. According to CBS Sports' college basketball alumni tracker, 20 former Blue Devils project to be on NBA rosters in 2015-16, and that doesn't include guys like Seth Curry, who could make a roster after big summer league or D-League performances.

Jackson has forgotten more basketball than any of us know, but it is pretty interesting to see him knock one of college basketball's premier programs like that.

[ESPN]