Former Desert Pines star Jackson exits D-League, off to Turkey


The NBA trading deadline passed Thursday, and Pierre Jackson was on the move.

To Turkey.

Jackson, a former Desert Pines High standout guard, couldn’t work out a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, who own his NBA rights, nor was he called up by them. So Jackson, who has been starring in the NBA Development League with the Idaho Stampede, decided to play for more money.

He signed with Fenerbahce Ulker and leaves for Turkey this weekend.

“It wasn’t a hard decision,” the 5-foot-11-inch Jackson said Thursday after the noon deadline passed and he was still Pelicans property. “I was making about $25,000 in the D-League, and I’ll be making a lot more over in Turkey. There’s a lot of former NBA players there, and I’ll get a chance to show my skills there.”

Jackson, who played college ball at Baylor, was hoping the Pelicans would call him up or trade him to another team so he could get a shot in the NBA and make substantially more money. New Orleans traded for his rights after Philadelphia drafted him in the second round of June’s NBA Draft.

But the Pelicans kept his NBA rights, so it was either stay in the D-League or go to Europe. And Fenerbahce had an opening on its roster after point guard Kenan Sipahi suffered a knee injury this month.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” Jackson said of the Pelicans’ decision to stand pat. “They liked me enough to draft me, but they didn’t think I was good enough to play for them.”

Jackson averaged 29.1 points in 31 games for Idaho. He set the D-League single-game scoring record with 58 points on Feb. 4. He was named to the All-D-League Showcase team in January after scoring 61 points in two games in Reno and scored 30 points in Saturday’s D-League All-Star Game in New Orleans.

Jackson isn’t the first player with Las Vegas ties to play for Fenerbahce, which is based in Istanbul and competes in the Euroleague. Former UNLV stars Mark Dickel (2003) and Kaspars Kambala (2005) also played for the Turkish club.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at 702-387-2913 or scarp@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.

 

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