On Monday, Kansas fans across the globe got a major jolt of excitement. That jolt of excitement was all over a 19 year-old. I assure you, though, this is no ordinary teenager. Josh Jackson, the number one recruit on Rivals and 247 Sports, committed to Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks. It was a recruitment that swayed back and forth, but it was a very quiet campaign for recruiting nationwide. Jackson slowly cut his list down to three, and Kansas ultimately ended up as his finalist. With the departure of Wayne Selden Jr., Jackson is the next step up for the Jayhawks at the shooting guard position. The question that everybody wants to know, though, is what exactly should we expect from Jackson in his first (and likely only) season at Kansas?
Last week, I compared Josh to Andrew Wiggins. The current leader for the Minnesota Timberwolves is merely a man on the sidewalk. To complete the analogy, Jackson is the man’s shadow. Everybody remembers how good Wiggins was, so the fact that the two recruits have similar play styles leads KU fans to speculate how Jackson will compare. I did enough comparing between the two in the previous article, so now, let’s single out Jackson.
If you like players that bring lots of offensive firepower, you’ll certainly enjoy Jackson. While his ability to throw the ball down is tremendous, Jackson is good at scoring from just about any spot on the floor. With his addition to the team, the Kansas backcourt will be set with Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham, and Jackson. Wayne Selden Jr. was good, but Jackson will prove to be more consistent. Scoring was a problem at times for Selden. He scored 33 points against Kentucky, but then scored just 27 in his next four games together. In March, he was one of Kansas’ best three-point shooters in its first three NCAA tournament games, but he was not able to bring the energy in the Jayhawks’ heartbreaking loss to Villanova in the Elite Eight, going 0-for-6 from three in that game.
Even as a freshman, Jackson should prove to be more consistent than Selden, which will greatly help Kansas come the 2017 NCAA tournament.
As I mentioned in my previous article about Jackson, he brings the energy that Kansas needs to compete. The great thing about him is his play-making ability beyond the court. Several experts have called Jackson the most competitive athlete in his class. He’s a leader, and a fiery one at that. His high basketball IQ is what sets him above the rest. He has the will to win and the drive of a horse to play at the next level. His confidence, maturity and playmaking is going to will his way at Kansas.
All Kansas’ fans know what happened this time last year. Cheick Diallo, the number four player in the 2015 class, had extremely high expectations coming into the season. Many fans believed that he had the presence Kansas’ would need inside. Yes, Diallo was doomed by the NCAA at the beginning of the season. He missed the Champions Classic and Maui, yet our expectations were still raised. We thought that he would be a determining factor in the NCAA’s, but it turned out that that was not the case. Jackson will start off with a bang, and end with one next year during March Madness. No, I am not just feeding you baloney. You can bet your bottom dollar.
Following his big announcement day, Josh took to Twitter to retweet some of the negative comments directed at him from fans of the schools he did not choose. It’s clear that the simple things do not faze Jackson, and his ability to maintain focus will be a vital component this winter. Jackson’s Prolific Prep coach addressed 247Sports by saying that Josh “contributes in every facet of the game.” Additionally, Jackson can play all of the positions. McKnight gave him time at all five spots throughout the year because of his ability to lead his team in transition. What is there not to like about his game? He is number one for a reason, folks.
When Josh Jackson arrives in Lawrence, I believe his presence will be felt immediately. With a big game against Duke in the Champions Classic, as well as other important games in the non-conference schedule, Jackson will get to prove his stuff right away. There is no World Games this summer. Kansas fans will have to anxiously wait for November to roll around to see Jackson be put to the test with a tough schedule. While we wait, go ahead and watch all of his highlights. Heck, there is so many of them, that maybe you still might be watching them by the time the season comes around. And by the time the season comes around, get ready for the Josh Jackson show to begin its prologue.