The Scoop on Scoop
A Q + A with Syracuse PG Scoop Jardine.
by Carron J. Phillips
To be a great point guard you must also possess a great nickname. Magic, Pistol, Zeke, Penny and The Glove are just a few of the great ones. Antonio Stephen Jardine already has a great nickname, and he’s putting in the work to make sure his game lives up to it.
This season, Scoop Jardine has transitioned into the role of starting point guard for the Syracuse Orange. He’s also big reason why they started their season on an 18-game winning streak in the toughest conference in America.
SLAMonline recently got a chance to sit down with the Philly native and learn more about the best point guard that nobody seems to be talking about.
SLAM: First off, how did you get your nickname?
Scoop Jardine: From my grandmother, when I was coming up my head was shaped like an ice cream scoop. It was really round and messed up, and I had to wear a hat wherever I went outside until I was 1.
SLAM: Currently you wear No. 11 and you did the same in high school, but a few years ago you wore No. 33. Why the change?
SJ: Number 11 was always my number, but when I got here, Paul Harris had it. There was also a local guy back home named Brandon Townes from my neighborhood who wore No. 11 and people started to make comparisons between me and him. So I started wearing No. 11 to honor him because he was incarcerated when I was growing up and I never got to see him play.
SLAM: Speaking of back home, where’s the best place in Philly to grab a cheesesteak from?
SJ: Ishkabibble’s on South Street. It’s definitely the best cheesesteak spot for people. I’ve got to pay homage to Geno’s, Pat’s and Jim’s because they are the originators but Ishkabibble’s has some great cheesesteaks.
SLAM: You and Rick Jackson have been teammates since your high school days in Philly, how has it been having him with you through this journey?
SJ: It’s been great, because we’re like twins. We’ve been together through everything including middle and high school, and now college. We know each other like a book, and it’s great to have a person that grew up with you by your side. We came in as boys and we’re going to leave as men.
SLAM: Who are some of your favorite players/guys you look up to?
SJ: I’ll start with Chauncey Billups because of his leadership abilities and the way he plays the game at his pace. I also like Andre Miller, Deron Williams, and I love Chris Paul.
SLAM: What makes the Big East Conference so special?
SJ: We have the best players, and we’re the best conference in the county by far. Every year you have studs coming in and out. They say the Big East will be down, and then we’re right back to where we need to be. That speaks very highly about a conference and this happens every year. It just goes to show you how much talent we have right here in the Big East.
SLAM: How’s the transition from 2-guard to point guard been this year?
SJ: It’s great to know that coach is putting his trust in me to lead this program. I’m not only representing my team but the whole city of Syracuse and everyone who’s ever played here. It’s an opportunity and an honor especially playing after guys like Sherman Douglas, Pearl Washington, Jonny Flynn, Gerry McNamara, Jason Hart and Lazarus Sims.
SLAM: How was this summer’s experience playing with the USA Select Team that worked out with the US National Team?
SJ: That made me who I am right now. Just going out there and seeing how hard the players work. We see them playing and entertaining us, but it was just all-access behind the scenes and I was just able to see how they work and become great. When I saw that, it made me become a better person and I became in tune and more focused on what I need to do to become a better player. Spending time with them and asking questions about how it was when they were growing up was great for me, because those are the guys I look up to. Especially with Chauncey because I talk to him on a consistent basis because of that experience and he’s been a big part of my career.
SLAM: This season guards like Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette have been getting a lot of the major press and media hype. Do you ever feel under-appreciated at times?
SJ: I’ve always been a modest kid and I just do what I do. People don’t have to talk about me because I’m secure in my game and know what I can do. The guys that they’re mentioning know what I can do. I was with all of those guys this summer and they’re actually my good friends and I’m just happy for them. I understand that I sat out a year (due to a medical redshirt) so people do kind of forget about me, but I had a great year last year and I’m getting some publicity this year. I’m definitely one of the top guards in country by far, but I’m just worried about leading this team every day and becoming better as a player and person.