Defenders take pride in their game because, really, that’s the job that doesn’t come with a lot of glory. The only time you hear your name is during pre-game intros or for a penalty. Yeah, not a lot of love there. But if you come correct on D, the other people who know your name are the ones who really matter: the opposition. And the opposition is very familiar with James Jackson of the Langley Junior A Thunder. The 6-foot-4 lefty has been bringing it hard the last 2 seasons for Langley and rightly so, Jackson’s pride stems from his ability and his contribution to the resurgence of the Thunder. And if all goes well, he’ll hear his name announced somewhere besides the intro or a penalty announcement. He’s hoping to hear his name called at the Oct. 1 National Lacrosse League entry draft.
Jackson brings the defense, no doubt about it. But he brings it with discipline, modeling his game after one of the NLL’s bright, young defensive stars in Brett Mydske. With just 20 PIMs in his last 39 regular-season games over the last 2 seasons, Jackson has more than shown he makes the right decisions when it comes to playing his aggressive, physical style.
But even better than that, Jackson’s been part of a rebirth of lacrosse in Langley at the Junior A level. Long mired in the basement of the BCJALL standings, the Thunder have been a playoff team the last 2 seasons with Jackson as part of the D unit. And Jackson says that’s clearly one of the biggest accomplishments in his young career.
You know that old saying, how it’s better to play for the name on the front of your jersey instead of the one on the back? That’s the attitude Jackson brings to the game and with so much parity in the NLL these days, teams can’t have enough of that attitude in the room. Jackson brings that outlook, along with a skill set on defense with a nose for transition that’s treasured by just about every single NLL team.
Weight: 195 lbs
From: Maple Ridge, B.C.
Junior A: Langley Junior A Thunder
What do you feel your greatest asset is that would allow you to translate your game to the NLL? My greatest asset is my ability to read the offence and communicate with my teammates. I am a very vocal guy and I feel my ability to see plays develop and communicate that to my other defenders can help translate directly to the NLL game.
One word to describe your game? Hardworking
What role/position do you see yourself playing in the NLL? I see myself playing a shutdown defensive role but still with the ability to transition the ball quickly up the floor.
What current or former NLLer would you most closely compare or model your game after? I really like how Brett Mydske plays the game. He plays a real tough, punishing style and rarely makes mistakes. I got a good chance to see him play in Langley with the WLA Thunder during my time in junior and I really work toward modeling my game after him.
Your greatest accomplishment during your lacrosse career? Helping the Langley Junior Thunder get to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the organization moved to Langley is by far the biggest accomplishment of my lacrosse career.Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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