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Lewis Jackson: NBA player?

DECATUR, Ill. - Lewis Jackson still has his senior year to finish at Purdue, and he has high expectations for the Boilermakers despite losing JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore.

His focus is intently on how he can help Purdue win.

But I asked him anyway about his post-college career.

Does he think he can play in the NBA?

"I think so," he said while we were driving from his house in Decatur, Ill., to Johns Hill Park. "I think playing in the Big Ten, playing against Kalin Lucas, those guys, playing in the (NCAA) tournament, that will only help me, playing against a lot of people who have been there. I just need an opportunity. It's all about opportunity -- who you know."

Felipe Phillips, whom Jackson considers a mentor, has watched Jackson play since he was in sixth grade.

He thinks Jackson could make it in the NBA.

"I'm seeing (JJ) Barea, Nate Robinson, no difference," Phillips said. "They're gritty. They're men on the court. Anything that comes up competitive or is a challenge, (Jackson) is going to compete every time he steps on the floor. He wants to win. That's what people look for -- winners. He's proven himself to be a winner. That's all he wants to do."

If the NBA dream doesn't happen, Jackson said he'd be willing to play overseas.

Ultimately, Jackson said he'd like to coach.

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