Watch Josh Jackson fly, pass and shoot at McDonald's All-American Game
While some Kansas basketball fans still might have been reeling Wednesday night from three consecutive days of KU underclassmen declaring for the NBA Draft, at least one future Jayhawk — and perhaps more — took the court in Chicago for the annual high school all-star showcase, the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Bill Self knows 6-foot-11 center Udoka Azubuike, who put up nine points and pulled down eight rebounds in 15 minutes for the East team, will be in a Kansas uniform next season.
The coach hopes 6-foot-7 swingman Josh Jackson will join Azubuike and the rest of the Jayhawks in the pursuit of KU’s 13th consecutive Big 12 championship.
Jackson earned co-MVP honors after contributing 19 points, four rebounds and three assists in a winning cause for the West all-stars.
A freak athlete with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Jackson, said to be considering Kansas, Michigan State and Arizona, projects as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, according to DraftExpress.com, which lists some of the 19-year-old’s strengths as:
Flies all over the court
Amazing potential defensively, with great lateral quickness and high motor
Excellent wing rebounder, especially on offensive glass
Finds ways to score without plays being called for him
(See the complete list, as well as some of Jackson’s notable weaknesses at his DraftExpress profile).
The McDonald’s game, as you might imagine, really only showcased Jackson’s strengths. I mean, when was the last time you watched a basketball all-star game in which anyone played defense for a prolonged stretch?
Still, Jackson’s talent jumped off the screen — watch his highlights in the video below.
Jackson, who made 9 of his 11 shot attempts in the all-star game, handles the ball well and can get into the paint.
What’s more, he’s a willing passer, who both knows how to move without the ball and uses dribble-drives to create open shots for teammates.
Jackson takes off for fast-break dunks and offensive rebounds with explosiveness, existing above the rim much of the time he plays.
He even shows his ability to hit corner 3-pointers — an increasingly important skill in the NBA. Jackson can also handle the ball on the break off a defensive rebound and find another elite athlete for an alley-oop.
As talented as he is scoring the ball, his passing is on point, too. Plus — can you believe it? — he even played some defense, blocking a shot, then securing a defensive board.
It’s easy to see why Self, Tom Izzo and Sean Miller want to add a wing with that array of talents — even if he will undoubtedly only be on campus for one year.
Oh, one more thing, did we mention Jackson is athletic?