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Dukes' Jackson begins NBA quest

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Duquesne's Aaron Jackson, who had a 46-point performance in his final college game, has been invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for NBA Draft hopefuls.

The Virginia-based event, which will be held April 8-11, always draws numerous NBA scouts. And with the NBA overhauling the evaluation process by eliminating certain pre-draft tournaments, Portsmouth's importance will be magnified.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to attend Portsmouth," said Jackson, a 6-foot-4 point guard. "It's another chance for me to display my skills."

Duquesne coach Ron Everhart coached a future NBA player when he had Jose Juan Barea (Dallas Mavericks) at Northeastern. Perhaps he'll have another in Jackson.

"My ultimate goal is the NBA," Jackson said. "A lot of people I talk to — scouts, workout guys — tell me not to try and do things I haven't been doing all along. They tell me to just play my game, and that's what I'm going to do when I go to Portsmouth. I don't feel any pressure to do things any differently."

Jackson, who is in the process of hiring an agent, said he is excited about the feedback he's been getting, listing contacts from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.

Official rosters for the eight-team Portsmouth tournament won't be released until early next month, but Jackson was told he'll compete on a team that includes guards Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island, Courtney Fells of North Carolina State, Stefon Jackson of Texas-El Paso, Jack McClinton of Miami and Ronald Steele of Alabama, and forwards Robert Dozier of Memphis and Kevin Rogers of Baylor.

Jackson averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 assists and 5.5 rebounds for Duquesne this season. In his final game, against Virginia Tech in the NIT, he scored 46 in a 116-108 double-overtime loss.

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