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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Self: Freshman Josh Jackson still has another gear

Kansas guard Josh Jackson

Kansas guard Josh Jackson

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There’s a chance that Kansas fans have seen all there is to see from freshman guard Josh Jackson.

But KU coach Bill Self does not believe that is the case.

“I think there’s still another gear he can go, and I think he would tell you the same thing,” Self said before winter break.

The mere sound and thought of such a phrase made even Self shake his head in amazement.

After all, during the first 12 starts of his college career, the 6-foot-8 Jackson, who, more than any player Self has had at Kansas, is a blend of equal parts guard and forward, ranks second on the team in scoring (15.6), leads Kansas in blocks (18), total rebounds (78), offensive rebounds (28), rebounds per game (6.5) and is in the Top 3 on the team in three other major statistical categories.

So, how then, Self asked could one expect, think or even hope that the young man actually can do more?

“I may be nuts,” Self admitted. “Because if he’s averaging 15 and 6 and probably the best passer on the team, (we) should probably be pretty happy with that. But I still think he can do a lot more. I really do. I think the ceiling is so high with him.”

How high depends not on how hard Jackson plays but how smart he plays and how well he uses what Self and the Jayhawks do to complement his own immense talents and accentuate the strongest parts of his game.

Self pointed to Jackson’s growth in KU’s transition offense as an example, saying Jackson used to keep the ball too long on KU’s fastbreaks but now pitches it ahead sooner to Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham or KU’s other play makers because his teammates have shown they have no problem giving it back.

“He’s been really, really good and is getting more and more comfortable playing with these guys and understanding their strengths and weaknesses,” said Self before summarizing the point. “... He’s making the game easier for them and he’s figured out that they can make it easier for him, as well.”

It’s fascinating to think what that type of growth over the next dozen games — and then 12 more after that — will mean for Jackson and the Jayhawks. But if it comes and if it delivers the kind of production Self believes is in the forecast for Jackson, it won’t be because the result of added intensity.

“Not from an effort standpoint or a competitive standpoint,” said Self, noting that Jackson is off-the-charts terrific in those areas. “I just think he could still plug himself better into what we do to allow him to put up even bigger numbers.... “I’m not talking about effort, I’m talking about aggressiveness, looking to score. I still don’t think he’s the offensive rebounder we think he can be. We’ve seen flashes of it but I think he should be the hardest guy in the country to block off the offensive glass because he gets a running start every time.”

Never one to gush about his own accomplishments, Jackson said recently that he was “pretty happy” with his play during the first 12 games of the season but added that he felt like he “could play a little better here and there.”

According to the Jayhawks’ jack-of-all-trades freshman phenom, one of the biggest elements Jackson has enjoyed this season has been the opportunity to play for Self.

“I felt like I was a pretty tough kid before I came here,” Jackson said. “But, with his coaching style, he’s made me a lot tougher. The way he gets on his players sometimes, I’ve never had that out of a coach before.”

Comments

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 9 months ago

We should all thank Coach K for not wanting Josh on this years Duke Blue Devil squad .The story as told by Josh was Harry Giles was trying to get him to come to Duke .....he told Giles that Coach K didn't want him ......maybe because the word on Josh was he was a trash talking an alpha-dog .....maybe wouldnt fit the image of Duke basketball. .......Oh well THAT PUNK Grayson Allen .........Nevermind I wont go there I will let anyone that reads this fill in the blank about Allen .....But anyway this is about Josh . I remember in the recruitment process some posted that they didn't want Josh because of the word about his trash talking .....that it wasn't a positive thing and a player not needed in a KU uniform ....and after the opening season loss someone posted that he and the rest of the players needed to cut their hair as if that had something to do with his opening game performance . Josh is about team he does whatever it takes on both ends of the court. Trash talkers like Josh I will take 7 days a week. Again thank you Coach K for a player who you felt might have an attitude problem in a Duke uniform ....Heaven forbid that should ever happen

RJ King 4 years, 9 months ago

Agree. A kid who can play the saxophone even a little, and started a high school chess club can trash talk all he wants.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 9 months ago

The official " COME AND TAKE IT " tour of the BIG 12 starts this week at TCU . ROCK CHALK JAYHAWKS

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 9 months ago

Heading into Texas sounding their 'Come and Take It' anthem....love it. TCU will be ready. We are in for a fight.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 9 months ago

WVU is ESPN's pick to win the BIG 12. Top 7 teams have 6 losses between us in preseason. That unbelievable. This doesn't include OSU at 10-2 and ISU at 8-3. Might be we can look for most of these to hold serve at home so maybe 14 and 4 wins the conference outright.

Chuck Woodling 4 years, 9 months ago

What???? Another Jackson story. That makes 6 or 7 in the last 3 or 4 days. Good grief.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 9 months ago

Hey Chuck I agree too much Josh overkill..............we need more stories about Chuck Woodling . That's what the fans really want to read about .

Kent Richardson 4 years, 9 months ago

Dok will be taking free throw shooting advice from Dontari Poe! I swear, that was my first thought.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 9 months ago

I think Mr. Woodling is just "joshing" us. I'm sure he marvels at what Josh is doing, assuming that he is the Chuck Woodling that we admired as sports editor for the LJW.

Coach Self has a long history of great relationships with his players, as witnessed by how many stay connected to the program. However, I believe he considers his relationship with Josh to be as good as any he has ever had, and that is saying a lot given the wealth of talent and character he has coached.

Sadly, Josh will only be with us for this year, but it hopefully will be one for the ages with them achieving all of their goals. They richly deserve it.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 9 months ago

Points for the "attempt" but it's apparently a tough crowd..

"

Len Shaffer 4 years, 9 months ago

I can't wait to see what more he can do, but I sure hope he can improve his free throw shooting, as that could play a huge part in determining how far we go in the tournament.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 9 months ago

You bet, Len. I remain confident in KU's long term free throw shooting. However, they clearly have to raise that part of the game to another gear. They might as well start this Friday at TCU. I have a hunch that we may need those points, as TCU appears to be much improved under Jamie Dixon.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 9 months ago

This week there are still three D1 teams worse percentage wise. Making a positive out of a negative there is the Udoka factor.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 9 months ago

As a sidebar, I wonder how long it will take the announcers on Friday to mention the KU game at TCU several years ago, when Coach Self made his memorable comments about playing like a YMCA team. That obsession with the past is kind of like the term "Hilton magic" from Brent Musberger every time we play at Ames. How about "Allen magic" instead.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 9 months ago

At one time, YMCA basketball was at the top of the basketball world.

RJ King 4 years, 9 months ago

I'll put the over / under at around 14:00 - 1st half.

Andy Taylor 4 years, 9 months ago

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Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 9 months ago

I know, Marius. In fact, I am almost old enough to have seen it for myself.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 9 months ago

Hey R J King........i will take your under but will say it will be in the opening of the network feed.....before they talk about Coach Dixon building off the momentum of that upset ......O/U 5 minutes the under is a safe bet .

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