Feb. 6, 2013
Sophomore Lonnie Jackson believes that the Boston College men's basketball team is heading in the right direction and he knows that he can play a crucial role in the turnaround.
Although the 2011-12 season brought just nine wins to Jackson and the Eagles, the team learned what is needed to compete in one of the best basketball conferences in the country. He and his teammates spent the offseason lifting in order to get stronger, while also working to improve their skills on the court.
His freshman season also taught Jackson what to expect from playing at the college level. He spent the offseason lifting in order to get stronger, while also working to improve his defense and other areas of his game he felt he could be better.
"The experience I gained last year was tremendous," Jackson said. "It helped me and it helped our whole team as we get closer to where we need to be. When we get there, we will be ready."
Jackson knows that playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference will only make the Eagles' quest to return to the upper-echelon of college basketball harder, but he would not want it any other way.
"That's why I came here," Jackson said. "I wanted to play the best players in the country and the best teams in the country. We're right there. When you're a competitor, you want to be challenged by the best teams."
It is no surprise that Jackson chose to come to BC largely because of the quality of the opponents he would face night in and night out, as he calls his competitive drive his greatest asset as a player. He says that his thirst for competition allows him to lose himself in his love of the game which. in turn. drives him to be a leader on the team. As a team leader, Jackson pushes himself and his teammates in practice by maintaining a positive attitude no matter what. He credits his competitiveness for fueling his leadership.
"It's that fire inside me that drives me to do what's right for our team," Jackson said. "Just trying to give the guys an example of what it's going to take to win and what attitude we need to win."
It's the idea of team and the fact that everyone has to work together and buy into one another that gives Jackson his passion for the sport.
"If you want to win, everyone's got to be a part of it. From the walk-ons to the coaches, from the players on the court talking to each other, it's just everyone being on the same page that is the best part of basketball," Jackson said.
Another reason that Jackson chose BC was because he felt that Coach Steve Donahue was building a program where the players would play as a team. He could tell that Donahue and the assistant coaches not only cared about the game, but also cared about him as a person, which he liked. Jackson also liked the on-court system that Donahue was preaching.
"It's all about getting up and down the floor," Jackson said. "There's a lot of threes. He lets us play free and he has great intensity and competitiveness as a coach. He really wants this to be a good program and he wants to win."
As a freshman, Jackson was able to make an immediate impact for Coach Donahue, playing in all 31 games and averaging over eight points a game. Jackson knew he had a chance to contribute right from the start, as the coaches told him that it was going to be a young team and while they may struggle at first, they would start to move in the right direction as they gained experience.
Having played for winning teams his whole life prior to college, Jackson has the experience to show his teammates what victory is about. The struggles the Eagles have faced have been the most challenging part of Jackson's basketball career, but he does not let it slow him down.
"We needed these times of struggle. That's the toughest thing is taking those hits on the chin and keep coming back and getting to practice and staying positive. That's the toughest challenge but our team is doing well at it now," Jackson said.
The team's ability to power through the tough times is what will lift them when things turn around, according to Jackson. He does not believe the bright future is far off and sees BC competing for the top spot in the ACC very soon.
"We want to be a team that's known and looked at as one of the better teams in the country," Jackson said. "We can get there if we keep working and keep trusting in Coach Donahue because he is pushing us in the right direction. If we come to practice and games ready we will get there."
Written by senior Eddie Lockhart