Josh Jackson's desire to be coached benefiting both him and the Jayhawks
From the perspective of the common fan, Kansas freshman Josh Jackson has proven to be the ultra-talented, incredibly skilled, hard-working competitor that he was deemed to be when he signed with the Jayhawks.
From the perspective of Kansas coach Bill Self, Jackson has been so much more.
Thursday afternoon, during his regular weekly news conference to preview Saturday’s game against Nebraska — 2:15 p.m. tip at Allen Fieldhouse — Self went deeper on the one thing about Jackson that has made him marvel since he began coaching the one-and-done freshman phenom.
“Josh is one of those guys who, even though he's really, really bright, he knows he doesn't know,” Self said. “It's amazing to me, when we do scouting report or whatever, he hangs on every word.”
So much so, in fact, that Self has found himself testing Jackson on purpose just to see how he would answer and react.
“I ask Josh a lot of questions sometimes to see if he'd know the answer,” Self began. “And half the time he does and half the time he doesn't. And he's always totally intrigued on why he doesn't. I mean, it's like, ‘Ohhhh, that makes sense to me.’”
But it’s not just a yes or no question we’re talking here. It’s much, much deeper and includes much greater detail.
“I'm talking about, hey, look at this possession here and I want you to tell me exactly why the other team scored,” Self said. “Break it down.”
Emulating Jackson, Self says, “Well, they didn't show this screen.”
Quickly, Self interjects with, “No, that's not why. Look at it again.”
“He's one of those guys that wants to know those things,” Self continued. “That's one of the things that impresses me the most about him is he wants to get better.... I'm not sure everybody's like that.”
Asked if he thought he had learned anything from coaching previous one-and-done standouts that might be helping him reach Jackson on a different level, Self said he wasn’t sure and added that that would be a question for his assistant coaches.
In the same breath, he again pointed toward Jackson’s intelligence, hunger and drive as the biggest reasons it looks — at least through nine games — like Self and the Jayhawks are getting more out of this one-and-done star than any others in the past.
“The thing about Josh that I think is really, really great, and (Andrew Wiggins) was the same way, Joel (Embiid) was for sure the same way.... he wants to be coached,” Self said. “He wants somebody to correct him. Now I'm not saying he wants to be jumped, but I'm saying he'd like somebody to coach him and correct him and be constructive and at the same time push him and try to get the most out of him. He likes that.
“He didn't come in here thinking that he was where he needed to be. He came in here thinking I'm picking this place because I'm not where I need to be. I think sometimes that gets lost.”
“He's so, so, so smart,” Self continued. “But we've always said the best freshmen are the ones that know they don't know, and the ones that are the hardest to coach are the ones that don't know (but) think they do.... We've been fortunate that the majority of our guys that we've had are like (Jackson).”