BYU basketball: Cougars' 'other' guard Jackson Emery sets his sights on pro career
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
PROVO — As usual, there's plenty of attention on BYU star Jimmer Fredette. Everyone is speculating about where the consensus national player of the year might end up in the upcoming National Basketball Association Draft.
Meanwhile, the other half of what many consider to be the best backcourt tandem in Cougar history is also diligently preparing for his next step.
Jackson Emery, BYU's all-time steals leader, has signed with an agent and is eyeing a pro hoops career overseas.
"I want to play professional basketball. The NBA is going to be tough with the whole lockout situation," he said. "They've already canceled the summer league, which hurts a guy like me who needs exposure and an opportunity to show what I am capable of doing.
"I know that I can play in the NBA, but I don't think that opportunity will be this year. I'll try to get some NBA workouts and see how I do. If that doesn't work out, I'll go play overseas next year and take a shot at the NBA the following year."
Emery has also been busy putting together the Jackson & Jimmer Basketball Camp for kids on June 3-4 at the XSI Factory in Lehi (find more information at jacksonandjimmer.com).
"This camp has always been on our radar, on a list of things to do," Emery said. "The problem was, Jimmer didn't know his schedule, but he's set aside time to do this. Jimmer's so busy doing other things, I kind of took over getting this camp ready. I told him, 'Just make sure you're there.'
"We're excited. It's going to be different from a typical camp. It's something that's going to be great for BYU fans, Jimmer fans, and Jackson fans — to come see us before we take off and do our own professional thing. We're going to make sure the campers that come understand what it takes to be Jimmer- and Jackson-type material."
As part of the camp, Emery and Fredette plan to put on a clinic.
"It's not very often that you go to a camp of a player and watch them work out and see what they do," Emery said. "I think it would be good for the kids to see us do a workout and see what makes Jimmer the Naismith Award winner and what makes me me."
Since BYU fell to Florida in the Sweet 16 in his final game as a Cougar, Emery has graduated with a degree in finance, and he's looking forward to becoming a father — Emery and his wife, Cherese, are expecting a baby boy in September.
"I joked with her that I hope he gets my height because she's only 5-foot-3," he said.
Emery has signed with Ben Pensack, an agent who represents former Utah State players Spencer Nelson, Gary Wilkinson and Tai Wesley.
Although Emery, who served an LDS mission to Mexico, speaks Spanish, he doesn't have a preference where he plays overseas.
"Any country in Europe would be great — Germany, France, Italy or Spain," he said. "I just want to go somewhere where I'm on a good team and have a good experience."
Emery enjoyed the experiences he had during his four years at BYU. As a senior, he helped lead the Cougars to a 32-5 record and their first appearance in the Sweet 16 in 30 years.
"After the season was over, as a team we were still hungry. We still felt like we could have gone farther (in the NCAA Tournament). But that's just part of life," he said. "Looking back on my career, from where I started and where I ended was completely different. The reason I came to BYU was to make this program grow, put us in the national spotlight, win championships and advance in the NCAA Tournament.
"From my freshman year, to going to the NIT in coach (Dave) Rose's first year, to winning several championships and going to the Sweet 16, it was exactly what I wanted. The time went flying by. I feel like there's another season because there always has been. I think next year when I read an article or turn on a game and realize that I'm not there, it will hit me that my BYU career is over."
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