Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Jackson, Azubuike draw raves during Self’s basketball camp

Kansas University newcomer Josh Jackson (11) had all eyes on him as he ran through drills during Bill Self's basketball camp on Tuesday June 7, 2016.

Kansas University newcomer Josh Jackson (11) had all eyes on him as he ran through drills during Bill Self's basketball camp on Tuesday June 7, 2016.


Josh Jackson and the rest of Kansas University’s perimeter players ran through shooting drills on one end of the court, while fellow freshman Udoka Azubuike and the other Jayhawk big men roamed the other side, thrilling several hundred Bill Self basketball campers during a 30-minute exercise on Tuesday at Horejsi Center.

Jackson, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2016 according to, showed a nice touch on his jumpers and also thrilled the foot-stomping youths with an assortment of slams, while Azubuike appeared to be trying to tear down the goal on his power jams.

“I don’t know if you can tell, he’s really big and strong and athletic. I don’t think I’ve ever been around ... I don’t think we’ve had anybody who probably has as many physical tools as what he has from a post-man position,” KU coach Self said of Nigeria native Azubuike, a 6-foot-11, 270-pounder out of Potter’s House Christian in Jacksonville, Fla.

“He has a lot of things you can’t teach. Obviously he’s very athletic for his size,” Self added of’s No. 31-rated player nationally.

Whereas it may take the 16-year-old Azubuike some time to get adjusted to major-college basketball, the 6-7, 200-pound Jackson is expected to grab a starting spot to start his one-and-done season.

“Zero for today,” Self said, asked his expectations for Detroit native Jackson, “but for the year I want him to be the best freshman in the country. I really think he has a chance to impact us as much as any freshman can impact any program. Obviously he has to knock the rust off and get stronger. There are a lot of things he needs to do to put himself in position to be that, but certainly that is our goal for him and I think that’s the goal for himself too.”

Jackson’s personality has already drawn rave reviews after one day in town.

“He is surprisingly to me very very humble and I would say responsible, disciplined,” Self said. “I figured that recruiting him and kind of reputation-wise he’d be kind of rough around the edges. He’s not. He’s pretty refined in so many ways. Now his game needs to become more refined, but off the court he’s got a personality. He’s smart. He’s ridiculously bright, articulate and makes an unbelievable first impression. From what people have told me he’s won everybody over that he’s come in contact with on campus in Day One just because he’s shocked them. He doesn’t wait to be introduced to somebody. He goes and introduces himself. I think his personality is going to be pretty infectious.”

Asked if 6-8, 210-pound frosh Mitch Lightfoot can help the team this year, Self said: “I don’t know. I would think so. We recruited him to play. If he’s not part of the mix certainly I guess we can talk about that (red-shirting) later but I see him being a guy who will fight for minutes now.”

Coleby not 100 percent: Dwight Coleby, a 6-9 junior transfer from Ole Miss, who had left ACL surgery the second week of October, took part in drills Tuesday but will not play in today’s campers game.

“He hasn’t been released to play yet,” Self said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him look as far as moving by far. There’s still no contact. Hopefully he’ll be full speed within a month, but he hasn’t responded quite as quickly as what some of the other guys we’ve had who have had that surgery have.”

Early Late Night info: Late Night in the Phog will be held at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, KU announced Tuesday. As at KU men’s home games, KU students will be allowed to enter Allen Fieldhouse two hours prior to Late Night festivities, at approximately 4:30 p.m. KU students will enter through their customary, separate game-night entrance on the northeast side of Allen Fieldhouse. Doors will be open to the general public at 5 p.m.

Svi training: Svi Mykhailiuk is back in Ukraine training for the Under 20 European championships July 16-24 in Finland. “I think he leaves for Italy tomorrow or the next day to play some exhibitions before he plays in the 20 and under. He’s excited about that,” Self said of the junior guard.

The great one remembered: Self explained that he once met the late, great boxer, Muhammad Ali. “He came to a fight night in Tulsa when I was coach at University of Tulsa,” Self said. “It was a big deal because he and Joe Frazier were both there the same night. You talk about a small town, six or seven bouts, you’ve got Ali and Frazier in attendance, that was a big deal. When you say meet, it was ‘Hi, sir,’ that was about it. it wasn’t like we had a long dialogue. That was pretty cool. I grew up always cheering for the guy fighting him because he was so cocky. Now I realize cocky was cool. He brought so much attention to the sport. To hear all his quotes and sayings, pretty good, pretty good,” Self added.

It was interesting that Self saw Frazier and Ali in the same building. Ali tossed a batch of insults Frazier’s way before and after their three fights.

“Based on what I have understood, they got close in their later years,” Self said. “From what I understood, Ali felt bad about doing that. He changed his view on how he handled some things he might have handled better. He sold tickets. You watch those fights … those are real fights.”


Tony Bandle 6 years, 3 months ago

With, Landen, Azu, Carlton, Dwight and Svi and Josh at the wings with a whole bunch of guards maybe a redshirt is not out of the question for Mitch.

Ryan Zimmerman 6 years, 3 months ago

I count Vick and Svi as guards as far as non-starters. What other guards are you referring to?

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

As of now there are still only 10 scholarship players. It's hard to imagine redshirting one.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Wiggin's was playing with a bunch of inexperienced teammates. Jackson's teammates all are experienced with tons of successes. Those guys are not going to sit around waiting/hoping he will do something. If Jackson can not pick up the offense, were so many freshmen struggle, like Oubre, Alexander, Diallo to name only the most recent, those guys will leave him behind in a hurry.

It's going to be interesting to watch Lucas this year to see how/if he mentors Azubuike. After watching Azubuike in the 'all-star' games, I didn't think he'd play much at all his freshman year to to poor fitness, slow feet and lack of speed - not that a post man needs to be speedy but it would be nice if he could get down the court in a timely manor. However, Self seems to be enamored with him, which translates into PT ... think Traylor.

I hope we can afford to red-shirt Lightfood. It would be nice to have some good possibly 5-year guys in the pipeline, like Lucas. Hopefully Self can sign a couple of more potential 5-year guys, like Thornton and Newman, although it's highly unlikely they will last all 5 college years before heading off to the pros.

Robert Brock 6 years, 3 months ago

  1. Jackson is a great talent but he really needs to work on his shooting mechanics.

  2. Has KU given up recruiting? The Hawks still have two available for 2016. It's June 8th...

Freddie Garza 6 years, 3 months ago

I would say just about any freshman has room for improvement on their jump shot. He just needs to be efficient as a shooter, he doesn't need to be Steph Curry, and by all accounts he has been working on and improving his jump shot. Remember, Wiggins didn't exactly have the prettiest jumper either, but he could still fill it up.

Ryan Zimmerman 6 years, 3 months ago

Agreed... those 3 point attempts and Jackson's form looks pretty funky. Starting much lower with the ball on the shot which I'd think would leave to some easier blocks for the defense. Not complaining, just noticed that quite a bit from beyond the arch

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

About recruiting, if there aren't players left w/the skill or meet the needs of the team then save them for next year. I still think we will sign Thornton or Malik but we have a solid team.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 3 months ago

No, KU has not given up on recruiting and is probably going to land Derryck Thornton and Malik Newman in the near future as transfers. There's just not any good players left in the 2016 class, it's transfers or nothing at this point.

John Randall 6 years, 3 months ago

Some of the attention is shifting to class of '17 –– the obvious lineup for '16-'17 will be top-5 caliber, with enough depth to compensate for off nights by starters.
Only a rash of injuries could prevent elite eight or deeper tourney run next spring.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

Can't tell Jackson and Vick apart in the video. One of them needs to get a haircut!

Also looks like Bragg grew out of his shorts. Or maybe got his shorts switched with Frank.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

Nice to see a large crowd come and see an early practice. Jayhawk basketball is alive and well!

Mallory Briggans 6 years, 3 months ago

although self has raved about josh and az.......he does have luxury of az being at ku 2 years which is good ...less pressure on him to be productive but time for him to learn the system.....3 things that will determine him playing time.... 1...his basketball quickly he can learn to play his position ...both offensively and defensively 2 ..his conditioning ....can he stay stay on the floor for extended periods without being easily winded....his size and strength are a given its if he knows how to use it to his advantage. 3 if and when coach self can trust him given he likes experience on the floor........again he wont be pressed to make an impact but if those 3 points happen thats a good thing

Mike Greer 6 years, 3 months ago

Playing for coach Self is like a doctor with a patient, first; do no harm. I think coach lets some neutral play slide, and obviously rewards great play, but when your presence on the floor starts to have a negative impact on the team and the play, that's when it seems to get you a quick trip to the bench. He's not going to leave guys out there that are not taking care of business and blowing coverage or constantly taking poor shots. This is not a criticism of coach, just my observation of his coaching style. Granted, he has and has had, great teams with many great players, so he has this luxury to "give you the opportunity" to learn the game.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

Suzi - I think the 3 you mentioned all had limits on their PT because of an inability to learn D not O. We all know D is Coach's passion and it sounds like much more of one for Josh relative to other frosh so less concern for me. I think Wiggins was similar in that regard also so the better comparison IMO.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago


All had tendencies for the ball to "stick" as Self calls it. Once they had the ball they were going to shoot it rather than move the ball within the team offensive plan. Diallo was an absolute guarantee to shoot. That's a bigger sin to HCBS than anything.

John Randall 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, Jay, how much a sin weighs depends which side of mid-court we are watching, don't you think? Failure to keep the ball moving is bad mojo, but not getting and holding defensive position violates the first and second commandments ... doesn't get "bigger" than that!

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

The three I mentioned hard problems picking up both sides of the court...O & D. I had in my mind how ridiculous Diallo and Alexander looked trying to run some basic Self offensive. Of course we have all seen Self's basic offensive for 13 years but still, it's not that complicated. Like you say, they all horrible trying to defend ball screens.

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