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He Will, He Won't, He Might: Josh Jackson

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Blue Team guard Josh Jackson comes in for a dunk.

Blue Team guard Josh Jackson comes in for a dunk. by Nick Krug

Another week brings another entry in the "He will, He Won't, He Might" blog series and today we take a peek at freshman wing Josh Jackson.

Jackson, as you know, is the latest highly touted, likely one-and-done freshman phenom landed by KU coach Bill Self. An he figures to step right into the starting spot previously occupied by Wayne Selden.

Because Jackson was on campus all summer, working out and bond with teammates, the adjustment portion of adding Jackson into the fold should be well behind them at this point. Now it's a matter of finding a rhythm on the floor during games, which are now just a little more than a month away.

KU fans will get their first true look at Jackson under the bright lights on Saturday at Late Night in the Phog.

Until then, we'll dive into what you should expect from the 6-foot-8 forward from Detroit who came to Kansas by way of Prolific Prep Academy in Napa, California.

In case you missed the first two entries in the series, here's where you can find them.

He Will, He Won't, He Might: Frank Mason

He Will, He Won't, He Might: Devonte' Graham

Now on to Action Jackson...

He will: Start every game of his KU career

This one was easy and we could have gone a number of different ways with predicting what Jackson will accomplish while at Kansas, but the fact of the matter is we just don’t know yet. He certainly figures to be a high-level impact player on both ends of the floor and will be among the team’s leading scorers, one of its top playmakers and most likely one of the top two or three defenders, as well. But it’s still better to see exactly who he is and exactly how he’ll be used before putting too many predictions out there. The one thing we know for sure at this point is that Jackson will be at Kansas for one season and then he’ll be gone. KU coach Bill Self told me that very thing as recently as mid-August and had no reservations about saying it. Jackson will start from day one and will start in that Wayne Selden spot every time out as long as he remains healthy. His length and athleticism, killer instinct and the threat of what he can bring and how that can open up opportunities for teammates are all too great to mess around with putting him on the path that Kelly Oubre, Cliff Alexander or Cheick Diallo took. That said, he’s a lot more ready for his opportunity — both mentally and physically — than any of those guys were.

He won’t: Be among the team’s leading three-point shooters

Josh Jackson didn’t come to Kansas to jack three-pointers. He’ll shoot a few, my guess would be somewhere in the 70-80 range, but it’ll never be his first choice, KU’s first option or a shot he knocks down at a high percentage. The way Jackson figures to factor most into KU’s three-point shooting this season is by creating opportunities for others. Picture him in the 1-4 flat set, dribbling the ball at the top of the key looking to attack. As soon as he gets by his man, which will happen a lot, the defense will be forced to react, which means it will collapse in toward the paint, thus freeing up KU’s wings to catch and shoot. Jackson’s both a skilled enough passer and unselfish enough player to make the right decision more often than not. If it’s Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham or Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk who he sees open on the wing, he’ll likely dish it to them. If it’s Carlton Bragg, Mitch Lightfoot or Landen Lucas, he’ll probably lower his head and keep driving to the rim. Jackson will shoot — and make — more than a few threes this season. But he’s not regarded as a terrific jump shooter, has a slightly strange hitch in his shot and can do so many better things with the ball than sit out there and make it easier for defenders to guard him.

He might: Be the best freshman in the country

As is the case most years, there’s a pretty strong crop of true freshmen playing college basketball this season. But whether you’re talking about the usual suspects like Duke’s trio of Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Frank Jackson, or Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo and De’Aaron Fox, fast-riser Markelle Fultz, of Washington, or even UCLA’s Lonzo Ball or Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, there is no shortage of top-tier talent in the freshman class. But few of them — if any — figure to get the same kind of opportunity that Jackson will at Kansas. That’s not to say they won’t be key and even featured parts of their respective teams, but Jackson slides into an obvious vacancy at Kansas and will be both led and set up by a pair of talented, play-making guards around him. Duke has a similar set up with Grayson Allen returning, so it’s definitely possible for any one of the Duke trio to claim the title of top freshman during the 2016-17 season. But Jackson will absolutely be in the mix, as well.

Incoming freshman Josh Jackson autographs a basketball during Bill Self camp registration on June 12 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Incoming freshman Josh Jackson autographs a basketball during Bill Self camp registration on June 12 at Allen Fieldhouse. by John Young

Comments

Scott Proch 5 years, 4 months ago

Great series Matt. Can't wait to see how Josh fits into the winning mix!

Matt Tait 5 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Scott. Glad you're enjoying it!

Jay Scott 5 years, 4 months ago

Matt...Your statement is confusing.

"The one thing we know for sure at this point is that Jackson will be at Kansas for one season and then he’ll be gone. KU coach Bill Self told me that very thing as recently as mid-August and had no reservations about saying it. Jackson will start from day one and will start in that Wayne Selden spot every time out as long as he remains healthy"

I agree he'll be OAD. Are you also saying that Self told you he'll start Jackson all season?

Matt Tait 5 years, 4 months ago

Sorry you were confused. Self only talked about his OAD status.

"The one thing we know for sure at this point is that Jackson will be at Kansas for one season and then he’ll be gone. KU coach Bill Self told me that very thing as recently as mid-August and had no reservations about saying it."

— END OF THOUGHT —

— BEGIN NEW THOUGHT —

"Jackson will start from day one and will start in that Wayne Selden spot every time out as long as he remains healthy."

Jay Scott 5 years, 4 months ago

That's what I thought. Just wanted to be sure. Thanks.

Joe Baker 5 years, 4 months ago

Is that Coleby in the pic with Josh? D-A-N-G, he's been HUDY-IZED.

Look at his arms...he's a beast.

Matt Tait 5 years, 4 months ago

It is. Being injured certainly hurt his development, but he's back now and has been getting after it. Beyond that, he was pretty big when he arrived but I'd expect serious time with Hudy to really pay off for him in the coming months/years...

Here's the most recent photo we have of him.

Kansas players Dwight Coleby, left, Josh Jackson and Lagerald Vick perform "boxes" during Boot Camp in the practice gym on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 just after 6 a.m.

Kansas players Dwight Coleby, left, Josh Jackson and Lagerald Vick perform "boxes" during Boot Camp in the practice gym on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 just after 6 a.m. by Nick Krug

Dirk Medema 5 years, 3 months ago

Even Josh has put on 15 since working with Hudy this summer. And then there's Bragg.

Jay Scott 5 years, 3 months ago

If he adds just a few more he could join the Joe Ross identical skills and position twins of Perry Ellis and Harrison Barnes to form triplets....

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