Interview with Jackie Manuel of the L.A. D-Fenders

Interview with Jackie Manuel of the L.A. D-Fenders
Jan 12, 2007, 03:43 pm
Helping lead North Carolina to a national championship in 2005 with his heady play and defensive presence, Jackie Manuel continued his success heading into the NBA draft with a stellar performance at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament where he showed scouts a surprising offensive game. Unfortunately, after breaking his foot, he went undrafted and was forced to sit out a year. Now, after being drafted by the NBDL Los Angeles D-Fenders, Jackie hopes to continue the defense that got him recognized in the first place, while upping his offensive game. I sat down with Jackie to get his thoughts where he's been and what he's up to now.

Richard Walker: You had 16 points tonight. When you first came out of college you were more of a defensive-minded player , does it seem like you’re putting more of an emphasis on your offense now that you’re at this level?

Jackie Manuel: A little bit more emphasis. Back in college I was able to do those things, but we all had to make a sacrifice for our team, for one goal. Now that I’m at this level a lot of people say they want to see me shoot the ball more, see if I can put the ball in basket. I’m trying to make a conscious effort.

Richard Walker: Is that something specific they’ve told you to work on?

Jackie Manuel: Basically, and a couple other things. They know I can play defense. A lot of people have told me they’ve seen the defensive ability, and now they just want to see if I can be consistent on the other end.

Richard Walker: I know coming into the draft you had a pretty good Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and that opened a lot of eyes. Did you hear anything before the draft?

Jackie Manuel: I heard a few things. And then I actually broke my foot, so basically the few things that I was hearing calmed down a little bit since I was injured.

Richard Walker: After that did you know that you were going to get drafted by the D-Fenders?

Jackie Manuel: I actually didn’t know. I was getting ready to head to Orlando for vet camp and my agent called me and told me.

Richard Walker: You played in training camp with Orlando. What was that experience like?

Jackie Manuel: It was great. I got an opportunity to learn from some great guys, a great coaching staff, and I really enjoyed myself. It was a good experience for me, being that I sat out for a whole year, so everything was so new to me.

Richard Walker: Do you get a chance to really talk with the Lakers coaches and staff?

Jackie Manuel: I talk with their coaches and staff. Shammond Williams and I are really close.

Richard Walker: Former Tar Heel.

Jackie Manuel: Yeah, so we’re really close, and he gave me some advice.

Richard Walker: Are you getting any feedback as far as getting a call up?

Jackie Manuel: To be honest with you, I really don’t know. I try not to worry about that. I believe everything is going to take care of itself. I believe that God has a plan for me. I just go out there and try and play hard and try and get W’s.

Richard Walker: Thanks a lot.

Jackie Manuel: No problem.

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