Former Kansas basketball power forward Darnell Jackson, who played in both Venezuela and Turkey last season, has reported to the training camp of Polish League team Rosa Radom, based in Radom, Poland.
Jackson, 30, has competed in Ukraine, China and the Philippines and also toiled for a pair of NBA Developmental League teams since his fourth and final season in the NBA (2010-11, Sacramento Kings).
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Jackson averaged 16.2 points, 6.7 rebounds in 16 games last season for Yeşilgiresun in the Turkish Super League and 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in eight contests for Marinos de Anzoátegui in the Venezuela League.
“Darnell signed to play in Poland, which is not highly regarded in Europe. It sometimes can be a springboard league for guards, but it isn’t the best competition,” said international basketball reporter David Pick in a Twitter exchange with The Star.
“I thought he could do better than Poland and was surprised to learn that some Israeli teams passed up on manageable offers to sign him,” Pick added. “I doubt he lasts the season out there. He’ll either leave or might score a call-up somewhere outside of Poland to a better team, but it’s just a hunch,” added Pick, who is based in Israel and writes for Bleacher Report and other outlets.
Jackson was drafted by the Miami Heat in the second round (52nd overall pick) of the 2008 NBA Draft, then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 11.2 points and 6.7 rebounds a game for KU’s 2007-08 NCAA title team.
Representing the National Basketball Players Association, Jackson worked with NBA summer league players in July in Las Vegas. He was part of the NBPA’s annual leadership development program.
Former KU guard Russell Robinson also plays in Poland for Polish League team King Wilki Morskie Szczecin.
Julian Wright now playing in Turkey
Former KU forward Julian Wright will be playing basketball in Turkey this season for Trabzonspor Medical Park of the Turkish Basketball Super League.
Wright, 29, averaged 14.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 33 games last season for Dolomiti Energia Trento in Italy. His team advanced to the Italian Cup semifinals. He also played 22 games in the Eurocup, averaging 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds a game.
The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Wright, who was selected No. 13 overall (by New Orleans) in the 2007 NBA Draft, played four seasons in the NBA. He’s also been a member of teams in Israel, Russia, Greece and Puerto Rico.
“Julian is an endless energy bunny who fuels his teammates to success and has carved out a well-respected reputation overseas,” Pick wrote in the Twitter Q & A with The Star. “He once made a Euroleague roster with Panathinaikos (in Greece) and has since played against, and beat, some of the top teams outside the NBA. He brings lots of qualities to the hardwood. He’s a nightmare on the boards and from my understanding loved by all his former coaching staffs and teammates.
“His Achilles heel, though, has always been his unorthodox release and below-average percentages along with an inability to shoot on a consistent basis from behind the arc,” Pick added. “With modern basketball growing small, and bigs being able to shoot and spread the floor, Julian has to advance that part of his game.
“Outside of that, forget dribbling and all that, I love him. If I’m not mistaken his deal is a one-year agreement for $300,000 net. He plays in one of the top leagues in Europe. Last season he was an all-first team FIBA Europe Cup nomination and single-handedly led his club to the competition’s semifinals.”