On Monday night, coach Bill Self and the entire Kansas fanbase received some thrilling news for next season.
SG Josh Jackson, ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2016 high school class by 247 Sports, committed to the University of Kansas on Monday, selecting Kansas over Michigan State and Arizona. He joins a pair of four-star prospects, center Udoka Azubuike and forward Mitch Lightfoot, as the third member of KU’s incoming class. Per 247Sports, Jackson’s commitment vaulted the Jayhawks all the way from the No. 42 class to No. 13.
Jackson, a 6’7″, 185 pound guard from Detroit (Justin-Siena High School), was thought to be choosing between Arizona and Michigan State as recently as last fall. After visiting Kansas on January 22 and being in attendance for the Jayhawks’ victory over Texas the next day, KU rapidly made up lost ground in the recruitment. Jackson claimed that the atmosphere inside Allen Fieldhouse was “the loudest gym (he has) ever been in,” and he also talked about Bill Self’s success developing players for the NBA.
Jackson is ranked No. 1 on both 247Sports and Rivals. He is the No. 3 player in the class according to ESPN. The super-athletic wing becomes the 11th McDonald’s All-American to commit to Kansas since 2009, and the second of the 2016 class, along with Azubuike.
This is the second time in the last four seasons that Self and the Jayhawks have gained a commitment from the No. 1 player in 247Sports rankings. In 2013, Andrew Wiggins chose Kansas over North Carolina, Florida State and Kentucky.
Last month, Wayne Selden Jr. and Brannen Greene, two junior guards, both decided to declare for the NBA Draft. The commitment of Jackson comes at the perfect time for the Jayhawks, as it helps KU maintain loaded backcourt. Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, all rotation players that will be upperclassmen next year, are expected to return for 2016-17.
Jackson will likely be named 2016-17 preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and there’s a chance he’ll contend for preseason Player of the Year in the league. Many people have compared Jackson to Andrew Wiggins, who averaged more than 17 points per game in his only year at Kansas. To read more about the similarities between the two’s playing styles, click here.
Additionally, the Jayhawks hope that their 2016 class is incomplete. Kansas is also in pursuit of wing Terrance Ferguson, the No. 13 overall player in the country.
The future will always be bright in Lawrence, but after picking up a commitment from the No. 1 overall player in the class, Jayhawk fans have every reason to be thrilled about next season.
Here is a highlight reel of some of Jackson’s high school plays. It doesn’t take a basketball expert to see the athleticism, power, and talent that he will bring to Lawrence next season: