Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Tom Keegan: Latest No. 1 like Wiggins

Josh Jackson, from Napa, California, competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Josh Jackson, from Napa, California, competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)


No. 1 in his class. Slender. Explosive dunker. Best suited to play on the wing. In those ways, Josh Jackson is similar to former Kansas University one-and-done sensation Andrew Wiggins.

It’s not a bad place to start for comparison purposes.

Since Kansas looked to be the leader for Jackson, I started asking sharp basketball eyes not allowed to comment for publication on high school recruits what they thought of him as a prospect.

“Great athlete, but not quite as freakishly athletic as Wiggins,” one said.

“Wiggins was a better shooter, but Josh is a nastier competitor,” another said.

“Wiggins is longer, even more explosive, a more pure shooter, but Jackson has a better handle, is a better passer, and you see his competitive nature take over when he’s playing defense. He really wants to shut down his man,” another said. “He cares more about being a complete player than most kids his age.”

Wiggins measured 6-foot-8 in shoes with a 7-foot wingspan at the Nike Hoop Summit in 2013. Jackson measured 6-73⁄4 in shoes with a 6-93⁄4 reach. Wiggins weighed 197 pounds, Jackson 203.

Wiggins earned first-team All-Big 12 and second-team Associated Press All-American honors as a freshman, distinctions sometimes glossed over by those who can’t shake the memory of his four-point farewell dud vs. Stanford in which he made one of six field goals. In the four games leading up to that, Wiggins averaged 28 points, 7.8 rebounds and made more field-goal attempts than he missed.

Jackson, joining returning starters Frank Mason III, Devonté Graham and Landen Lucas, will be surrounded by more experience than was Wiggins.

Beating out Arizona and Michigan State was a huge recruiting victory for Kansas given that both schools had a head start.

Jackson played for Arizona’s Sean Miller on U19 Team USA. He grew up a fan of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and had developed a relationship with Magic Johnson.

Kudos to Bill Self’s longest-tenured assistant coach, Kurtis Townsend, lead recruiter on Wiggins and two years later on Jackson.


Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 6 months ago

Our coaching staff seem to have done more than just 'recruiting' effort - Mrs. Jones is one heck of a mother!

==== His mother, Apples Jones, told she felt Kansas “cared about him more as a person than as a basketball player.” ====

Jerry Walker 4 years, 6 months ago

“(Kansas) had the plan and roadmap and they laid it out for me,” Jones added. “I could see the future they had planned for Josh from his freshman year to his senior year." -- Apples Jones

Interesting...very interesting!

Chris Shaw 4 years, 6 months ago

JJ may not score as much as Wiggins but IMO JJ will make more of an impact on the overall game than Wiggins did.

Despite Wiggins being more athletic I don't think Wiggins utilized his athleticism as much as he should have as he settled for jump shots. Even when he drove he was a little unorthodox. JJ's ability to create off the dribble IMO is what is gonna separate JJ from Selden, Oubre, and even Wiggins in a Jayhawk uniform.

I'm just looking forward to 3 guys in graham, Mason, and JJ that can create off one another, attack the paint, and get in that crease whenever they want. It's gonna be fun to see those 3 feed off each other. Gonna be a big difference from Selden at the 3.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 6 months ago

Self has consistently expressed his desire for guys to go to the rim, and Jackson's handle, plus passing skills, definitely suggest that he could attack and create. If he can get his FT% into the mid-70's, he could possibly score a good number of points while standing still.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 6 months ago

Wiggins was primarily a post in HS. That's why his handles were subpar at KU. Jackson was primarily a perimeter player who frequently ran the show so his handles are much further along the Wiggins were.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

I hope you are correct - I think you are and he will be on a much more experienced team. If he lets Mason and Graham run the team, he won't feel the same pressure that Wiggins did.

From video only, they play a very similar game. I think not having the pressure Wiggins had will enable Josh to have a huge impact. Personally, I think he will score more than Wiggins did.

Stu Libby 4 years, 6 months ago

This kid certainly has the ability to go #1 overall, he is that special of a talent. SH has a good piece on his decision and how he'll fit in at KU next season:

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 6 months ago

roadmap from freshman to senior would be nice to think of him being at KU 4 years but we all know the reality lets enioy that freshman year even more........the word project does not apply .....projected ..does..

Mike Riches 4 years, 6 months ago

If our roster stays the same (which is a big if, as we may very well add another couple players and there are still questions surrounding Svi and others) here's a prediction on next year's backcourt minutes. I think we see a lot of Mason and Graham together but maybe Graham gets a few more minutes as he continues to grow into his role of floor general. Jackson replaces Perry as our number one scoring threat and gets his share. Vick cracks the lineup and all of the above eases the strain on Frank who still has an explosive senior season.

Graham: 30+ mpg Mason: 25-30 mpg Jackson: 30 mpg Svi: 20-25 mpg Vick: 15-20 mpg

I would think everyone would be happy with the above and imagine the balance of this rotation! Also typically there are 120 minutes split between the first three spots, but I think we may see some four guard offensive sets next year, especially with Jackson's length and defensive competitiveness.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

No news about Svi is good news. I still believe Svi hasn't come close to playing to his potential. Self needs to find minutes for Vick. I would hate to see him transfer like AW3 did.

Jay Scott 4 years, 6 months ago

AW3 was looking at sitting behind Greene, Selden, Wiggins and Svi until he graduated. Vick can't expect Jackson And Svi to be back next year..

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 6 months ago

If I remember correctly, it was the Oubre signing that meant the end for AWIII. I think that AWIII was gone before Svi committed, but Self could have also known about Svi's intentions at that time as well. Oubre looked like a possible two year guy as well. We all saw the writing on the wall, we just couldn't tell if it said Brannen Greene of AWIII. Turns out that AWIII will play in Allen Fieldhouse as a senior and Brannen Greene won't.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 6 months ago

The part about his competitiveness, handle and passing abilities has me very excited. However, not mentioned in the article, are the several sources that laud his BBIQ. These qualities put on the same court with Mykailiuk Graham, Bragg, Lucas and others will make next years team the best ever for KU.

Like Keegan mentioned, Wiggins never had the surrounding veteran cast Jackson will have.

Mick Allen 4 years, 6 months ago

Do you still have Mason on the team next year Suzi? Has Frank done something negative to you or your family that explains why you continue to downplay his importance to us?

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 6 months ago

Mason (13.1/4.4/4.8/1.3/41.3%) is an incredibly important component to next year's team. Mason's swoon after the OU game, except for a couple of games, where he barely got to the line twice a game, had to be due to a prolonged injury. I was making the point about the number of athletic, high BBIQ, good passing big guys we will have. Although Graham is not that big, Mason is a little guy.

Not sure why you keep saying this kind of thing.

Rene Tinajero-Realtor 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm liking the looks of the upcoming team. KU may look a lot like Villanova did this past season. Putting a 4-1 on the court. I hope JJ has the killer instinct that Wiggins lacked in college. Kudos to the coaching staff for another solid recruiting class...

Freddie Garza 4 years, 6 months ago

I don't see Bill Self taking that approach. I still see a high low, utilizing Landen on the low block primarily as a rebounder and for easy dump ins when available, with Bragg on the high block, threatening with his jump shooting ability (and hopefully an improved ability to attack off the bounce).

He'll be surrounded by Mason, Graham, and likely Jackson, assuming that Jackson is who we think he is, and completely buys in defensively. Svi, assuming he comes back, will likely be the first guard off the bench, meaning that he's get major minutes.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 6 months ago

Glad to know that Kurtis Townsend was the lead recruiter for Josh. I've always said that KU is blessed with a great staff, not just a phenomenal head coach. They do it the right way, as Jerry Walker points out in his post.

Kurtis won national assistant coach of the year when Andrew Wiggins chose KU. A similar honor would be appropriate this year for Kurtis and the entire staff.

Mike Greer 4 years, 6 months ago

Oddly, what I remember most about Wiggins, other than just how good he was, is that coach was always challenging him to do more. Coach never thought he was as aggressive as he cold be and passed on too many shots. If Jackson is Wiggins only more aggressive, then you've got a great addition to an already solid foundation.

As others have mentioned, Wiggins didn't have the supporting players this team has, seems that was another of those total reload years. That year there were 3 freshman starters; Wiggins, Embide, and Selden, 1 sophomore; Ellis, and Senior; Tharp. For the 16/17 season there will be starters: Mason, Sr.; Graham, Jr.; Lucas, Sr.; and Mykhailuk, Jr.; Bragg, So.; Vick, So. Four upper classmen and two sophomores that form a very good base and provide experience.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

Tharpe was a Jr on the 2013/14 class. Ellis, Jamari and AW3 were sophomores.

Keith Gellar 4 years, 6 months ago

RUH ROH...did he say like wiggins..if that's the place, we're screwed.

And how come no one is talking about his mom...#1 helicopter parent. Isn't that a red flag? so the kid came here because his mom wanted him to and i heard he wanted to announce sooner, but his mom told him to wait till later? Red flags

Jay Scott 4 years, 6 months ago

Only a Chicken Little would think a comparison with Wiggins is bad.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

Your post is a little confusing Keith. Not sure what 'if that's the place' means, why you have problems w/his #1 helicopter parent (?), and why you keep seeing red flags.

Landing the #1 recruit usually makes the alumni happy and comparisons to Wiggins are a good thing.

Buck Bukaty 4 years, 6 months ago

Welcome aboard Mr. Jackson, to the Jayhawk Show! IMO,

Someday You're Gonna Be A Star! Play it.....

Janet Olin 4 years, 6 months ago

Welcome, Mr. Jackson. I am not generally a fan of OADs, but I also understand at a high-profile school like Kansas, the coach has to pursue some high-profile players. Looks like he got a good one. Coach has to strike a balance. I'm still a Wiggins fan because he was humble, quiet, hard-working, and a team player. I think too many people blame Wiggins disproportionately for the early tournament loss. Yes, he didn't play great, but neither did the guards and Embid was out. And yes, he deferred (probably too often, to the veterans so as not to seem a hotdog). Still, his character is way different than other OADs fans complain about.Since Jackson will have veterans to play with, it should ease the stress on him, unlike the otherworldly expectations for Wiggins as a freshman.

Pius Waldman 4 years, 6 months ago

Kansas is not noted to have multiple 5* recruits so often a need for recruiting to go nationwide. Yes recruits tend to place KU on their list but geography can be a hindrance as some tend to play near their hometown. Just think before KU started recruiting him probably had little interest in Kansas.Yet one visit just rocked his mind and probably Apples (interesting woman first name) was a big influence in his decision. Looks like this will be a reload team. Still 2 or 3 more to go.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 6 months ago

In contrast, Dook seems to be full-house with hi-ranked recruits next season. I can't wait to beat the heck out of them for the next Wiggins vs Parker remake.


This fall, Mike Krzyzewski will welcome Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson and Javin DeLaurier to campus. Respectively, the four freshmen are ranked Nos. 1, 2, 11 and 43 in the 2016 ESPN 100.


Janet Olin 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't forget Wiggins' brother was playing for WSU at the time and they're a tight family.

Corey Sparks 4 years, 6 months ago

Not a big fan of OAD'S either, but we NEEDED a good 3 to replace Selden. To everyone complaining, isn't this the best case scenario for this team?

Janet Olin 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes, Coach Self has maintained a good balance for the most part. Lots of things happened independently of the OADs' talent that couldn't be controlled or predicted--like injuries to Embid, Ellis right before the tournament the last 2 years, or Xavier's helicopter dad's interference, or Alexander's mom's accidental mess-up. Selby and Oubre were both immature and pouty, didn't contribute a whole lot but the others did well as freshmen given their supporting casts. I'm very enthused about Jackson's skill set and his veteran support. The big name schools can't afford not to have some big-name players because they are all in the same intense spotlight, even though it disrupts team chemistry from season to season.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 6 months ago

keith his mom want him to come here to get him away from the negative detroit influences......also even though we all know he will be a OAD.....she values his education......she was a good ballplayer herself but she said she blew off classes ended up losing her eligibility because of academics....she doesnt want him to be just a basketball player but a good student.........Ahhhhh does Ben Simmons come to mind.....he blew off classes because he knew he was a if that goes with being a helicopter parent.....we need more of those instead of those pimping out their kid looking for that big payday...she cares about her son enough to value his education because she blew her chance .

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 6 months ago

Very good, Mallory. Every village needs an idiot, and apparently, Keith is campaigning hard to earn the title. Why don't we just elect him by acclimation and be done with it.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 6 months ago

Wiggins is on cusp of NBA superstardom. Jackson is a completely different player than Wiggins. To me he looks like 3rd year Selden in freshman Oubre's body.

We really need to see this kids detailed statistics in order to get the full picture of who he is. The highlight videos paint a decent picture. He doesn't shoot it much, because he's not a great shooter. He will improve his shooting, but we don't know what to expect from him next year. My guess would be he'll be somewhere between Oubre and Wiggins as a shooter. He's an elite finisher. He can definitely get up, but doesn't fly as high as Wiggins. More similar to Oubre as a raw athlete (speed, agility, leaping ability). He appears to handle the ball decently well in traffic. Comparable handles maybe to Selden. He looks like he passes the ball better than any wing we've had in a long time.

Eric Schneider 4 years, 6 months ago

Jackson will bring what we have missed at Kansas since Tyshawn left. The alpha dog, vocal leader mentality. I've seen a number of comparisons to Justice Winslow and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Maybe a bit ahead of where they were at the same point. If we can manage to land Ferguson, what looked to be a so-so recruiting class at one point could be exceptional.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 6 months ago

ferguson tweeted 3 hours ago he will announce his decision .....he never went to carolina so i assume they are off the table......arizona seems to be the leading contender......and in the YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME DEPARTMENT..........Kansas offered a spot to a kid from Brewster Academy .......6 7 forward Norm Roberts made a visit last year ....he is in this years class of 2016......His name................Alpha cant make that up........Alpha Diallo .....

Lance Hobson 4 years, 6 months ago

Geez I hope he's s better shooter than Wiggins. It's only a matter of time before the NBA stops talking about his "upside" and starts talking about his ceiling.

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