Stackhouse loves to play, wants to coach

If Jerry Stackhouse had it his way, he’d retire from the NBA, become a television analyst and then get a head coaching job -- just like Mark Jackson.

“The perfect blueprint in my mind is kind of the Mark Jackson blueprint,” the Brooklyn Nets’ 38-year-old player/coach said Wednesday night at a charity event in Manhattan.

Stackhouse figures he’s put in the required “grunt work” over the past four years -- passing down the knowledge he gained during his playing days to younger pros like MarShon Brooks and Tyshawn Taylor -- and deserves to be considered for a head coaching job in the future.

“I feel like I’ve bought my time, and hopefully somebody will see it that way. Then I can step away from the game, kind of step away from the guys because I’m still kind of grouped with them somewhat,” Stackhouse said. “But I think the fact that I was brought in as a player/coach started to give me a little bit of separation from that, and people are trying to really take me seriously as a coach.”

So when exactly will the transition begin? Stackhouse isn’t sure.

“I don’t know (when I’m going to retire). The last four years have kind of been my last year,” he said. “Milwaukee was gonna be the last year. Miami was gonna be the last year. Atlanta was gonna be the last year. And now Brooklyn (might be) be my last year.”

Based on the way he’s playing right now -- maybe not. Thrust into action due to injuries to Gerald Wallace and Brooks, Stackhouse is averaging 6.7 points on 53.3 percent shooting in three games for the Nets. Last Friday, he erupted for 11 points in the second quarter of the team’s blowout victory in Orlando.

“I thought I would be able to kind of ease my way into the season,” Stackhouse said. “But injuries are part of the game. I was kind of thrust out there, but I was ready. I came into camp in great shape and really pushed myself before the season trying to prepare for that. When I was thrown out there, I just took advantage of my opportunity. And I love to compete, man.

“I talk all about the coaching thing and going to that next level, but there’s nothing like playing basketball.”

Stackhouse called the past four years of his career “fluke-ish.” Because of a litany of injuries and other things out of his control, he appeared in just 89 games. He feels strongly that he should’ve played more last season in Atlanta, but believes the team brought him in to “keep the locker room together,” a role he embraced.

Things are a lot different now.

“I feel good man. I got a 38-year-old knee. There’s no doubt about that,” Stackhouse said. “But at the same time, I manage that well.”

Stackhouse’s career may be coming to an end soon, but he’s going to enjoy it for as long as he can.

“I just love to play,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing: guys get old when they stop doing it. ... When I lose a step out there, then I’ll know it’s time. But as long as I’m competing and still getting an extra man sent at me (when I’m playing offense) at 38, then I know I can still play.”