June 21, 2005
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s Jarrett Jack has decided to keep his name in the NBA draft and not remain in school for his senior year, the junior point guard announced Tuesday afternoon.
Jack, 6-3, declared himself eligible for the draft on May 5, but did not sign with an agent in order to remain eligible to return to school and play his senior season. He worked out with several NBA teams and attended the league’s pre-draft camp in Chicago before making his decision late Tuesday afternoon.
“It was a tough, hard decision,” said Jack, “but after talking with my family and my coaches, I felt like the best thing for me to do was keep my name in the draft.
“I’ve loved my three years at Georgia Tech, and I appreciate everything the people here, the coaches and the fans, have done for me. And I will fulfill my academic requirements.”
Head coach Paul Hewitt said, “I support Jarrett in his decision. He has spoken to many of the decision makers in the NBA and goes into this with his eyes wide open. I’ve been impressed with how mature he has been throughout the process, and expect him to be very successful in the NBA.”
A native of Fort Washington, Md., Jack completed three seasons at Georgia Tech, playing in 101 games and starting all but one of those. He helped guide the Yellow Jackets to three post-season appearances, including the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years and a trip to the Final Four in 2004. Tech’s record during his career was 64-37.
Last season, Jack earned second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors and was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. He led Tech in scoring at 15.5 points a game while also averaging 4.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. He shot 44.2 percent from three-point range, which would have been the top figure in the ACC had he met the league’s minimum for three-pointers made. He ranked fourth in the ACC in overall field goal percentage (51.4) and third in free throw percentage (86.6).
For his career, Jack ranks 26th at Tech in career points (1,265) and fifth in career assists (543), and he is just the sixth Tech player ever to score 1,000 points and accumulate 500 assists.
Jack’s departure leaves senior center-forward Theodis Tarver and junior guard Mario West as the only upper classmen on Tech’s 2005-06 team. The Yellow Jackets also return four sophomores and have four incoming freshmen, three of whom were ranked among the nation’s top 100 high school seniors. Among that group, only Tarver has started a game for Tech.
PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT – June 22, 2005
Have any of the teams told you anything?
Jack: I haven’t gotten a 100-percent guarantee from one team yet. There are a lot of people out there who like what I do on the court and the aspects that I would bring to the team. We will just have to see draft night.
How are you handling this?
Jack: A lot of sleepless nights. I am really confident in my ability and I am confident that I can go to the next level. I am sure whatever team picks me will make a good decision.
Whose advice have you sought out?
Jack: I have definitely used Coach Hewitt. He has great relationship with the guys on the next level. He has been doing a bunch of the dirty, behind the scenes work for me. I really appreciate everything he has done. That is something he really doesn’t have to do, and I just want to say thank you to him.
What have you been able to do for him coach?
Coach Hewitt: Just tried to make sure he was getting the right information. I think a lot of times kids in this situation get a lot of bad advice and they don’t get it directly from the sources. All I have tried to do is get him on the phone with the people who are making decisions so he gets information accurately or as accurately as possible.
How tough was this decision?
Jack: It was real tough. If you ask Coach Hewitt, he will tell you. I was up in his office at 4:58 still undecided. It really went down to the wire. I have loved my three years here, every aspect from the coaches to the players to the people I have been able to me and the fans. Georgia Tech is always something that is going to be embedded in my heart. This wasn’t something I could easily walk away from.
How did you ultimately arrive at your decision?
Jack: It was kind of like a fence and I was just jumping back and forth over and over. I wasn’t able to make a firm decision and stick with it. When it came down to it, I just tried to be as selfish as possible. I had to decide what would be the best decision for me. I felt that the NBA was that step.
Was there a deciding factor?
Jack: Not really, because when you try to weigh the pros and cons neither can really outweigh the other. I just had to go with my heart and my gut feeling, and it came out to be the decision to go to the NBA.
Did the collective bargaining agreement or the possibility of a lockout weigh on your decision?
Jack: When I left Chicago, they told me that a lot of progress had been made toward the collective bargaining agreement. So that was a positive for me knowing that we would have an NBA season come October. It was something I really looked at and said even if they did have a lockout, this is a decision I am going to have to make for me.
What did you think of the age limit?
Coach Hewitt: I think he knew that was a possibility all along, so I don’t think that was a big factor. Plus, you can’t second guess now. It’s done.
Have you retained an agent?
Jack: I am still deliberating at this point but a decision will be made in a couple of hours.
You are known for talking to other players. How much did you talk to other players about this decision?
Jack: Especially in Chicago, a lot of us really talked about it. They kept asking me, `What are you going to do? What are you going to do?’ I would tell them that I might go back to school, but none of them believed me anyway. They all thought I was blowing smoke, but none of them knew how tough of a decision this really was for me.
What teams did you work out for?
Jack: Minnesota, Charlotte, Toronto, the Lakers and the Celtics.
There were some reports on the internet that said you cancelled workouts with Memphis, is that correct?
Jack: I think they wanted to bring me in, but with the injury to my ankle, it kept getting worse and worse as I kept pushing it with the flights and coming in and out of town. It was just something I thought I needed to shut it down for a while.
Do you think it is a weird process trying out for these teams, like auditioning?
Jack: It has been tough, but you know what you are getting yourself into. You know what’s on the line and what’s at stake. If this is what you want to do for your job, you have to go out and put your all into it. You can’t go in there half-stepping. You know you have other guys in there competing against you. You have to be ready to keep going.
Do you have a silent wish to play in Toronto?
Jack: Everybody has been asking me that. It would be great to play along side Chris [Bosh] at the next level. Everybody knows we have a great friendship off the court. I actually talked to him today. He told me congratulations on my decision, and we will see what happens on Tuesday.
Did they compare Jack to any other players in college or the NBA?
Coach Hewitt: Not really. The one name that came up was Mark Jackson of St. John’s who played a long time in the NBA. I think they think he has his own qualities.