When Antonio “Scoop” Jardine, former Neumann-Goretti and Syracuse star, had a chance to participate in a NBA pre-draft workout for the Philadelphia 76ers, needless to say he was really excited. Jardine couldn’t wait to showcase his basketball skills for his hometown team.
“It feels like home,” Jardine said. “I’m happy to be home. I’ve been fortunate to be called into a workout for the Sixers. I think that’s one great thing for myself and another step into my career I’m about to go into. It was great to be out here. I had a lot of energy because I was happy to be home with my family.”
Jardine grew up in South Philadelphia, not too far from the Wells Fargo Center, where he played some college basketball games when the Orange faced Big East rival Villanova.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound point guard, helped Syracuse advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2012. He averaged 14.7 points over the Orange’s last three tournament games. The former Catholic League standout has a busy schedule in front of him as he prepares for the NBA draft. Jardine feels very good about his position in the draft.
“Right now, I’m turning a lot of heads,” Jardine said. “My stock is really rising since the workouts have started. My dream is to be drafted. I don’t know here at, but I’m very confident I’ll be drafted come June 28.”
Jardine has a lot of confidence in himself. That’s the way he plays the game. In 2006, he guided Neumann-Goretti to the Catholic League championship. Jardine had a bundle of talent back then and has even more now following an impressive college basketball career. He will draw on his talent and experience as he displays his skills for other teams.
“I’ve worked out for New York (Knicks) and San Antonio (Spurs),” he said. “I’ve gone to the Minnesota combine where there were 30 teams there. That’s where I improved my stock.
“I’ll be busy for these next 26 days. I got Washington and New York (Knicks) again, Minnesota (Timberwolves) again, San Antonio again. Then, I got Atlanta (Hawks) and Memphis (Grizzlies). I got like 18 workouts. That’s great because that’s 18 opportunities to prove myself and show what I can do in an NBA setting.
“You know coming from Philly you’re very fortunate. That’s one thing I’ll say I’m blessed to be in a position coming from Syracuse. Now, I have a chance to do something that I dream of doing with my life and that’s playing basketball.”
Jardine has been watching a lot of the NBA playoffs, getting a feel for the pro game.
“That’s my job,” he said. “I want to learn and improve my game. You can improve by watching the best players in the world. I’ve been watching the point guards. (Rajon) Rondo (Boston Celtics [point guard) is at the top. I think he’s one of the best in the league. He’s a tough check. I’m trying to learn how to guard him before I get there.”
Jardine has been learning from a pretty good guard from Philly. Jerome “Pooh” Richardson, former Ben Franklin High and UCLA star, who played 11 NBA seasons, has been helping him out. He’s working out with him in Calabasas, Calif.
“I’m training with Pooh Richardson,” Jardine said. “It’s like a dream come true for myself also being from South Philly. He’s from Philly, a guy I always hear about. A guy I always looked up to and a guy who made it out of Philly. To go out there and pick his brain and work out is the best thing that could have happened to me. He’s really been a big brother to me since I’ve been out there. He played in the NBA 11 years. He knows what it takes. He knows the ins and outs of it. I think I’m in the same position. I just want to go in there and prove what I can do.”
NOTES: Jardine and Kentucky star Doron Lamb worked out for the Sixers on Sunday. Jardine’s grandfather is Isaiah Wilson, who played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and in the ABA for Memphis.