SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – When he was a 5-star recruit at Lone Peak High School, Frank Jackson dreamed of one day playing for his favorite NBA team.
Jackson got his wish yesterday, agreeing to a 10-day contract with the Utah Jazz.
“It was a shock at first, and then it was like, yeah, let’s go!” Jackson said Thursday. “I was pumped, and now that I’m here and in the building, it’s still very surreal.”
A second round NBA Draft pick in 2017, Jackson played four seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons. Jackson was playing this year with the Salt Lake City Stars of the G-League, averaging over 21 points per game, an experience that has helped with the transition to the Jazz.
“As soon as we started playing, it was the things I’m been doing for the last four months,” Jackson said. “All of our sets, all of our defensive schemes, all the calls, it’s all the same.”
With Mike Conley traded and Collin Sexton nursing a hamstring injury, Jackson could see action right away at point guard for the Jazz. He also hopes his stay lasts longer than 10 days.
“You’ve got to prove yourself every single day,” he said. “You learn quickly that nothing in life is handed to you. It’s another opportunity to scrap and fight for everything I’ve gotten in my life.”
Jackson is one of just six Utah high school players to play five years or longer in the NBA along with Fred Roberts (Bingham), Shawn Bradley (Emery), Danny Vranes (Skyline), Jeff Judkins (Highland) and Travis Knight (Alta). Jackson says he is proud to represent the state.
“To represent not only the state of Utah, but my family name,” said Jackson, who played one season at Duke. “There’s some great talent here in Utah and some gritty people. And it’s nice to show the world that.”
Kris Dunn, the 5th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, also signed a 10-day contract with the Jazz. He’s hoping to finally live up to those high expectations..
“When you’re a first round pick, especially a lottery pick, that pressure should be on you,” said Dunn, who has played with Minnesota, Chicago and . But I’m here to showcase who I am on and off the floor. I’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries, and I want to show the Utah Jazz, the team I’m playing for, but also the league that I’m back healthy, I’m back 100 percent.”
Dunn played three seasons in Chicago with Jazz All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen, and he isn’t surprised by Markkanen’s rise to stardom.
“He’s my guy,” Dunn said. “I thought he was going to be an all-star after my second year there.”
The Jazz (29-31) host Oklahoma City tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Vivint Arena.