Maccabi Tel Aviv added veteran guard Aaron Jackson last week due to the injuries in their backcourt to John Dibartolomeo and Nate Wolters. The 33-year old who will join the Yellow & Blue from the Zhejian Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association as Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos will have another weapon at his disposal that will increase the club’s depth going forward in Euroleague play.
Just before the 2016 Euroleague champ arrives in Israel, The Sports Rabbi had a chance to catch up with Brian Goorjian the Zhejian Guangsha Lions Head Basketball Assistant Coach and arguably the greatest coach in Australian basketball, to analyze what Jackson will bring to the table in Tel Aviv.
“Jackson is a facilitator – he makes everyone around him better,” began Goorjian as he described A-Jax who averaged 16 points and 10 assists in China. “He was able to create and can get the Chinese players shots. Most imports in the CBA have a mentality of “shoot first” so, in this regard, Jackson was unique and that is why the Chinese loved playing with him. But he can also score & create his own shot if required.”
While in China for Jackson was able to not impact his team with his playing style on the court, but was also able to use his experience as a springboard for his teammates, “He is very knowledgeable in systems and spacing and really tried to help teach the Chinese to be better players. He was a hard worker at practice and always gave 100% effort.”
On the hardwood, Goorjian explained that the Duqesne product was more than just a player, “He’s a natural on court leader with a real presence.”
Off the court he led by example, “In the locker room, Jackson had strong body language and though he didn’t speak the language, it was easy to see what he was thinking. He lifted the players’ spirits, no finger pointing with him, just encouragement.”
“Jackson is a quality person with terrific values and I wish him only good things. It was my real pleasure to coach him and I am a better person for having spent time with him,” said Goorjian.
Special thanks to Dave Barr for arranging the interview