Mark Jackson is Moving Forward after Extortion Attempt, Believes Warriors Have Three ‘Can’t Miss Rookies’

July 20, 2012 – 7:30 am by Steven Cuce

A few weeks ago Mark Jackson and his family were the targets of an extortion attempt that stemmed back from an extramarital affair he had six years ago. Jackson is owning up to his mistake and moving forward from his errors in the past.

The Golden State Warriors head coach believes it’s an exciting time for this franchise as they just hit the jackpot in the NBA draft landing three players that they desperately sought after. From the sound of it Jackson has high hopes for Harrison Barnes.

Mark Jackson joined KNBR in San Francisco with Tom Tolbert to discuss being the target of an extortion attempt by an ex-stripper, the impact the extortion attempt will have on his coaching this season, his first impressions of Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes in Summer League play, Harrison Barnes creating his own shot and the health status of both Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry.

Do you have anything to say about being the target of an extortion attempt by an ex-stripper that you had an extramarital affair with over 6 years ago? How do you handle that moving forward?

“Well I thank god, my lord and savior, Jesus Christ, for his grace and mercy. Obviously I own up to what took place six-and-a-half years ago and we move forward. I am excited about what lies ahead for this team and for me. It’s an exciting time, so I am truly blessed and I thank god for this time.”

People are wondering does being a target of an extortion scheme impact the way you will coach this season?

“Not at all. It’s an exciting time for me. I continue to lead this team. I thank god for great ownership and management that still believes in my ability to do that and it’s an exciting time for us. We look ahead.”

Give me a thumbnail sketch on the three rookies: Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes? What do you like about them? What do you need to see improve?

“Well these guys to me are can’t miss rookies starting with Harrison Barnes. He’s the guy we wanted with the seventh pick and he fell into our lap as teams passed by him. Certainly there were other guys on the board, but he’s a guy we targeted and came away with him. He’s a pro. He’s a guy that had a high expectancy in college, had success. People don’t think he accomplished what they set out for him to accomplish, but he had a great career at North Carolina and felt it was time. He’s a guy that can shoot the basketball. Excellent explosiveness to the rim. He can play out a pick-and-roll, battles defensively and is only going to get better. To me he is a guy that wants to be great. He studies the game. He is constantly asking our coaches for video, for film, for advice. You look Festus Ezeli, a big guy that we knew coming in…we targeted him with the 30th pick. We weren’t sure if he was going to be available. We even considered moving up, but a big body that knows how to play with force, protects the rim, big time rebounder and shot blocker. He can finish at the rim and loves the game of basketball. A high IQ guy. Draymond Green, who to me is a steal at [pick] No.35. If you did your homework and you are all about winning there is no way in the world that he is on the board at No.35. He’s a guy that we targeted once again. He is undersized, but can play anywhere on the floor. If you say what position is he? I don’t really know. All I know is that he is a basketball player. A legitimate basketball player that knows the ins and outs of what it takes to be great and he’s a leader. He’s been vocal from day one. He competes. He does not have a major flaw and he’s a guy that the only thing you say when you look at him he’s undersized, but he can flat out play. He will find his way onto the floor. We got three gems as far as our rookie class is concerned.”

Can Harrison Barnes create his own shot?

“Yes he can. The ability to put the ball on the floor. We were not sure about that until we got a closer look. He’s a guy that we didn’t have him in for a workout against anyone. Bob Myers and Joe Lacob went to New York and they took a look at him live and in person. We watched him on film. We loved what he was able to do. He can put the ball on the floor and make plays and I think he complements Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry very well.”

What are the reports on both Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry’s health right now?

“Both guys are on schedule. We feel very comfortable with the checkups they had, with the rehab they have had, both guys are professionals. They have done everything we have asked them to do to put themselves in position to be ready and they are on pace. It is exciting to see because if those guys are healthy it only makes us better and it certainly makes me a better coach.

Listen to Mark Jackson on 680 KNBR in San Francisco here

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