SNSB G-Men Nation Spotlight: Coach’s Corner with Grambling Men’s Basketball Head Coach Donte’ Jackson

Sports

GRAMBLING, La (KTAL/KMSS) – Donte’ Jackson is in his fourth season as the Head Coach for Grambling’s Men’s Basketball program. In his first season, he led the G-Men to their first SWAC regular season championship in nearly thirty years. The tigers are without their top two scorers from last season, but with new key transfer pieces, Coach Jackson is confident about his squad.

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 SPORTS
“So first off, you’re coming off a road trip to Arizona, gearing up for the home opener. What stood out for you about this year’s team in these first games?”

Donte’ Jackson | Grambling Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“What stood out the most is the way we defended. We defended really well both games, and usually at this point and time your defense is probably ahead of your offense because you’re working on a lot of defense in the preseason, at least for us. Playing at Grand Canyon was a different atmosphere. We went out there three years ago and it was almost the wildest atmosphere I had ever coached College basketball in. To going to play this year where it was just like 600 people and some cheerleaders. Then we played at Arizona, a traditional basketball power that has a sellout every night to having empty seats and it feeling like a scrimmage. Then just a few players that stood out. You know Cam Woodall, he’s a Junior College guy, first time here. Watching Trevell Cunningham navigate the offense was pretty good. So, you know, I’m excited about the future.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 SPORTS
“Yeah, let’s talk about transfer Cameron Woodall. He finished with a team-high and tied a game-high with 19 points against Arizona. So, what do these JUCO transfers and transfers in general bring to the program and how awesome is it to watch Cameron Woodall flourish this early in the season?”

Donte’ Jackson | Grambling Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“Cameron Woodall, he was a top-100 Junior College recruit. It was great for him to choose to stay closer to home, he’s from Raymond, Mississippi. We recruited him for a while and were really excited when he decided to come to Grambling. He’s just great because it’s kind of like starting over at times. Sometimes it’s good to have a good Freshman to start over with but losing Ivey Smith and Devante Jackson. We wanted some guys that could come in and help out immediately and just be able to plug in and plug a hole. Having a guy like Woodall, he’s coming in and trying to soak it up like a sponge and learn as much as he can learn on the fly.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 SPORTS
“I know its hard to know a team’s identify this early in the season but you’ve seen your guys play more than anybody so if you could pin-point a few things that have stood out to you as a Coach, some things that we have to look out for from the G-Men this year, what would that be?”

Donte’ Jackson | Grambling Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“Well I think that we are getting back to being really good defensively. I think we’re getting back to really being able to press and be full court, get after it, pick people up full court, try to get some open court traps and to do a great job in the half court. You know one of the things that has been great for us is our transfer Brian Thomas. He’s been an anchor, holding down the middle and just rebounding and blocking shots. He’s been just a breathe of fresh air to coach and being able to have an older guy that transferred from a mid-major program is pretty great.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 SPORTS
“Got to love the transfer portal. Well nothing is normal in 2020, now your team is the first Grambling program to get some game time action since the Pandemic shut everything down last March! What was your message to your team during the off-season to keep them motivated and focused on this season with everything going on?”

Donte’ Jackson | Grambling Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“Throughout the off-season we did a lot of different Zoom calls. This wasn’t a normal year by any stretch. Usually you have them here for summer school, you have them here periodically before August or the first week of school. Everything was different. So we just tried to do zoom calls, we tried to talk to each other about being stars in your realm, staying focused on the task at hand and just being good students. That was the most important thing we could talk about during the whole summer was make sure you are taking care of your business in the classroom, because at the end of the day, that’s what you came here for… to get a degree.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 SPORTS
“Alright so you have got East Texas Baptist University coming up, the battle of the Tigers, your home opener so that’s got to be exciting. Looking at how they have been doing, they’re on a little bit of a winning streak, so what are their strengths and the challenges they bring to you guys?”

Donte’ Jackson | Grambling Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“Well its a new program with Chris Lovell taking over as the Head Coach. He’s a really good friend, we recruited a few of his players when he was at Bossier Community College. I know they are going to come in and be a high-octane offense, really do a lot of god stuff off the dribble-drive. We have to do a good job of containing penetration and keeping guys off the paint and contesting shots. At the end of the day we have to take care of our business of making sure we do what we need to do, defend, rebound, and attack the basket.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 SPORTS
“You guys go back on the road next Sunday to face Texas Tech, so previewing that matchup, what kinds of challenges to the Red Raiders bring?”

Donte’ Jackson | Grambling Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“I told our guys its just like a game like Arizona. You’re playing a team that’s a top 25 program, everybody’s going to be good so you have to go out there and compete at a high level. You’ve got to go figure it out. I haven’t really gotten as far as Texas Tech because the most important game right now is East Texas Baptist. After 9pm on Thursday I’ll start figuring out what I have got to do for Texas Tech.”

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