ISU's Jackie Carmichael heads down court. (WJBC photo/B Corbin)
By Bryan Bloodworth
Bill Frakes has been doing photo shots for Sports Illustrated magazine since 1983.
He’s taken more than his fair share of pictures of high-profile athletes during his career, but only twice in the 30-year time span have his subjects offered to help him carry his equipment.
Tim Tebow was one and Jackie Carmichael was the other.
Carmichael made the offer this past summer when Frakes was in Uptown Normal to photograph and film Carmichael for a video and story featuring the 6-foot-9 senior as a “Future Game Changer” in the 2012-13 season.
That speaks volumes about the kind of person the Illinois State basketball player, whose actions impressed Frakes so much that he made a point of telling ISU officials about the act of kindness.
“That was crazy,” said Carmichael about the shooting. “I had no idea that was coming. To be in Sports Illustrated was a dream come true. Words can’t describe how much fun I had doing that.”
What else is there to know about Carmichael?
He is grew up in Manhattan, Kan., the oldest of four children. His sister, Catherine, is on the Kansas University volleyball team. His mother played basketball at Bemidji State and his uncle is Harold Carmichael, the former great wide receiver of Philadelphia Eagles’ fame.
His favorite food is chicken parmesan. His favorite musical group is the Jackson Five and the best book he’s ever read is Harry Potter Global of Fire.
And he’s afraid of clowns?
“I don’t know what it is about them, but they are one of the very few things that make me nervous,” said Carmichael. “I was like in fourth grade and made the mistake of watching the movie “It.”
“I was intrigued by it, but it scared me to death. I used to have nightmares about them. To this day, I can’t stand to be around clowns. I get the chills and an uneasy feeling.”
There’s been no clowning around on the court for Carmichael during his four-year career.
He has posted double figures in scoring and rebounding in 34 games during his career, including 14 times this season. He leads the conference in rebounds with 9.4 per game, blocked shots (1.9) and defensive rebounds, while ranking fourth in scoring (17.4) this year.
He is among only 12 players in the 100-plus-year history of the Missouri Valley Conference to score over 1,500 points and handle over 900 rebounds.
Carmichael will finish as ISU's all-time leading shot blocker. He currently has 192 ahead of Friday’s 8:30 p.m. game against Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis.
He’s likely to finish third in career rebounds and eighth in points scored, not to mention being in the top 10 in numerous other categories and has been nominated for the Lou Henson Award, which goes to the top player in the country at the mid-major level
Carmichael also has a passion for clothes and shoes. He is an apparel merchandising major and had a hand in designing ISU's uniforms this season.
“People say I designed them, but I really worked with the entire team to see what they wanted and would be the best for us as a team.” Carmichael continued. “We thought the jerseys we had the previous year were way too heavy when we got sweaty.”
Carmichael is obviously hoping for a career in the NBA or overseas, but if that doesn't work out then he’d like to work for a sports company to work with athletes.
“I just want to be able to stay around the game that I love because I don’t know life without basketball,” he added.
More about Carmichael
Birthday: Jan. 2, 1990
Major: Apparel Merchandising
Nickname: Jack-Jack or Big Jack
Favorite food: Chicken Parmesan
Favorite ice cream: Frozen yogurt
Favorite team: Miami Heat
Person admired most: Mother Janelle Russell
Favorite music group: Jackson 5
Favorite music: Rap
Favorite drink: Sour Watermelon Power-ade
Favorite color: Red
Basketball hero: Michael Jordan
Favorite animal: Lion
Least favorite animal: snake
Why do you wear Number 32: Family tradition
Biggest pet peeve: People who do not close things after opening them
Fondest basketball memory: Winning Sub-state championship senior year of high school
Best book read: Harry Potter Goblet of Fire
Biggest obstacle overcame: Proving myself as a basketball player
Perfect day would be: a win
Biggest weakness: defense
My life in one word: Basketball
Superstitions or game day ritual: None
Person you’d like to spend a day with: Mike Bibby
Song you would sing at karaoke: Anything by Drake
What do you like to do away from basketball: Sleep
How do you relax: Listen to music
People would be surprised to hear that I am: really goofy
Can’t start a day without: a glass of orange juice
Secret addiction: McDonald’s