Back to 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament coverage

2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Monday, April 6, 2009

Darnell reflects on title

Jackson: NCAA crown ‘greatest feeling in the world’

Kansas celebrates their national title against Memphis on Monday, April 7, 2008 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Kansas celebrates their national title against Memphis on Monday, April 7, 2008 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.


Kansas University’s yearlong reign as national basketball champion will come to an end shortly after 10 tonight.

Players and coaches from either North Carolina or Michigan State will climb the ladder and clip the nets at Ford Field in Detroit, then sit on the throne until the 2010 Final Four in Indianapolis.

“It’s never going to be the last day of being defending national champions for me,” former KU forward Darnell Jackson said via text message from Cleveland on Sunday night.

“I think about that game every day,” the Cavaliers’ rookie added of KU’s 75-68 overtime victory over Memphis in the 2008 NCAA title game last April 7 in San Antonio. “The guys on the (Cavs) team ask me about the Final Four almost every day. I tell them it was the greatest feeling in the world.”

He had his finest moment as an NBA rookie Sunday.

Awarded his first career start, the 6-foot-9, 253-pounder scored four points and grabbed five rebounds while logging 24 minutes in Cleveland’s 101-81 home rout of San Antonio.

“Getting my first NBA start was great,” Jackson said. “I was standing up, putting my jersey on, and coach (Mike Brown) said, ‘D-Block you are starting at the 4.’

“I looked at Mo Williams and King James (LeBron James) and sat down real fast. They both just laughed at me. Hopefully I will be holding an NBA trophy at the end of the season. Rock Chalk,” he added, signing off.

After the game, Jackson told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, “I got nervous a little bit when he (Brown) told me right before the game, but once I got out there I was fine. I just tried to stay focused and do my job.”


Alex Wishart 13 years, 3 months ago

ol' Roy. gotta love him. or not... it all seems kinda hokey now that he's not our coach.

ParisHawk 13 years, 3 months ago

National Champ Darnell Jackson starting next to Lebron James. National Champ and Final Four MVP Mario Chalmers starting next to Dwayne Wade.

Man, if I were a KU recruit I would carry my signed letter of intent in a briefcase handcuffed to my wrist and deliver it personally to Bill Self.

mbmerriman 13 years, 3 months ago

D-BLOCK is perfect for the cavs and any NBA team: an unselfish rebounding dfensive minded player who will give it up to the great players around him all day. and every once in a while knock down that sweet jumper.

kubbjunkie 13 years, 3 months ago

Darnell, It has been so much fun to watch you at "The next level"! The way the Cav's open the game and how much fun you guys have! You look so happy and relaxed. I can remember some game times as a Jayhawk when you had the weight of the world on your shoulders, but you still took care of business. As the legal guardian of an 11 yr. old. boy, I can only hope he grows up to be the kind of man you have become. You are a shinning example of what is good in sports. Keep playing hard until that World Championship Trophy is in your hands! Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk! Rock-Chalk D-Block!

canuckhawk 13 years, 3 months ago

Alright Darnell. Much love from Jayhawk fans every to you where ever you are and whatever you are doing. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. Good luck with the NBA playoffs and finals.

d_prowess 13 years, 3 months ago

Imagine the possible two year run for Jackson. A College National Championship, followed by an NBA Championship! Here's wishing it does!

Scott Smetana 13 years, 3 months ago

Keep smiling DBlock and pounding that chest. You're a Jayhawk for life!!

craigers 13 years, 3 months ago

Such a great and classy guy. The NBA couldn't have taken a more deserving individual.

Brett Forreal 13 years, 3 months ago

What a class act of a guy, Darnell. You are what college basketball and NBA are all about. You deserve every bit of what you have achieved and will achieve. You are greatly missed as a Jayhawk. We need more of you. Good luck in the NBA playoffs.

100 13 years, 3 months ago

Lebron & the Cavs asking D block about the Final Four every day...

A ring playing with the only team to ever win a NCAA crown with 37 wins...

A town (and a nation) that will always see him as a hero...

Something, unfortunately, Lebron will never have...

CJ, X -- KU wants you both -- is there anything else you Jayhawk legacies need to know?

Bring your paperwork in a locked briefcase with you to Lawrence...

It will be the best experience of your life.

Cameron Lauer 13 years, 3 months ago

good luck bringing home that NBA championship, Darnell. Congrats on the start.

JayJayPG 13 years, 3 months ago

D-Block will always be a KU fan favorite. Any NBA team would be lucky to have this guy.

keith horinek 13 years, 3 months ago

With all the tragedy and hard luck Darnell has been through in the last 5 years, it's nice to see good things happen for him now. Darnell, I'm happy for you and hope it lasts for as long as you want it to. A movie anybody?

Jaminrawk 13 years, 3 months ago

To me, if anyone ever asked me what a "BIll Self" player was, I would point to Jackson. That senior class was just as important as the fantatic junior we had last year. Darnell came to Bill Self as a raw basketball player and improved every year he was at KU. I was so happy to see Darnell get drafted and actually be a contributor on a hell of an NBA squad. Just a great story and a great Jayhawk. Darnell will always be one of my all-time favorites.

rawkhawk 13 years, 3 months ago

Darnell, congrats on the start. I still have a pic of you dunking the ball in my office. It gives me inspiration...

Chris Shaw 13 years, 3 months ago

KU Fans: Here is something to ponder and think about. First, just like everybody else on this forum, congrats again Darnell. You are one of my all-time favorite jayhawks and will always root for you and whatever team you're on. Second, has anybody else thought about the fact that Darnell (D-Block) is starting for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Wayne Simien (Big Dub) is trying to work his way back to the NBA from Europe. Who would have ever thought those situations would have ended up the way they were back in 2005? Pretty crazy, Huh? Keep working D-Block! Congrats on everything.

Lance Hobson 13 years, 3 months ago

What a great Jayhawk, congrats to D-Block for a great rookie season!

Dale Kroening 13 years, 3 months ago

Good to see D-Block and several others representing KU well. Jackson got the start for Cleveland, Mario has started all season for Miami, Rush has been starting for Indy(and playing well lately), and Arthur continues to play, and starts at times for Memphis. Keep it up guys!!!!!!!!!!! RCJH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Drew Bender 13 years, 3 months ago


Only four people have ever won an NCAA title and an NBA title in consecutive years... Bill Russell, Henry Bibby, Magic Johnson and Billy Thompson... Pretty elite company... Good luck Darnell... Keep up the hard work

jacqueshock 13 years, 3 months ago

I love that picture of Darnell as he's hoisting the trophy.

Chris Corley 13 years, 3 months ago

Congrats, D-Block! You will always be loved in Jayhawk Nation no matter what! Come back often. All the best.

Dan Harris 13 years, 3 months ago

Congrats DJ! You were always one of my favs. Anybody hear the rumor that Memphis has hired Carl Henry to ensure X stays?

cwag 13 years, 3 months ago

The senior leadership of Darnell and RusRob was the key to our TEAM.

CaramelMacchMan 13 years, 3 months ago

You know what man!..

A man like D-block can be so much...

Where was he 3 years ago?? almost quit basketball..

And where he is now.. its just unbelievable how he much hard work he put in.

D-block!! you sure are a role model to me man!

arcticjhawk 13 years, 3 months ago

Congrats Darnell!! I followed your college career (and life story) with great interest. Glad to hear that you're doin' just fine. Not to side track the story, but has anyone heard how Sasha's doing over there in Russia?

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