You don’t know (Jarrett) Jack

With three years of battling in the ACC at Georgia Tech under his belt, Jarrett Jack comes to the Trail Blazers a veteran.

Draft day saw many teams opting to use their first round resources on battle-tested college players, rather than gambling on a high school prospect. Point guards in particular were a valuable commodity. Three of the top five draft picks were point men.

Even so, for the third year in a row the Blazers stayed true to their youth movement and used their first round pick on high school phenom Martell Webster. The Blazers traded the 27th and 35th pick in the draft to Denver, thereby securing the rights to Jack, who was selected 22nd overall by the Nuggets. In doing so, the Blazers got someone who can come in and help right now.

With veteran point guards Damon Stoudamire and Nick Van Exel expected to be playing ball elsewhere next season, and Sebastian Telfair still figuring out the complexities of NBA basketball, Jack will have the opportunity to contribute early and often, on the court and off.

As good as Jarrett Jack may be, he will likely never be the featured playmaker in the Trail Blazer offense. Telfair came on strong in the second half of last year’s NBA season and shows promise to be one of the league’s premier point guards.

However, Telfair’s size was an issue at times last season when the Blazers ran a very small backcourt lineup featuring the 6-foot rookie and Stoudamire as the shooting guard. Jack will be used to push Telfair and offer a substantial alternative to Telfair’s undersized frame.

Jack spent an impressive three years heading up the offense of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, twice being named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference’s third team. His stats aren’t monumental, averaging around 15 points and five assists a game in his last campaign, yet Jack is a clutch player who has risen to the challenge, such as in last year’s ACC tournament.

Perhaps Jack chose the wrong year to come out. His stock was very high at the end of the 2003-2004 season and next year he would have been the best point guard in the draft that featured no high schoolers due to the change in the collective bargaining agreement.

Draft position aside, Jack’s real value to the Trail Blazer shines through in his size, leadership, maturity and willingness to play physical basketball.

Jack’s passion for the game should be a welcome addition to the team. In pivotal games Jack repeatedly showed a desire to take the important shots and sunk them with a comforting regularity.

The 6-foot-3 point guard doesn’t shy away from the basket either. He was widely considered to be the best rebounding point guard in the draft and went to the foul line more than any other player in the ACC.

It isn’t often that a rookie can be welcomed to a team as a veteran and a scion of maturity, but by bringing Jarrett Jack to Portland, the Trail Blazers have done just that.