Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Josh Jackson survives hard fall unscathed, thrills campers with 21-point outing

Country's No. 1 recruit jokes that he's already talked to teammate about physical play

Blue Team guard Josh Jackson soars in for a dunk during the Bill Self basketball camp alumni scrimmage, Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the Horejsi Athletic Center.

Blue Team guard Josh Jackson soars in for a dunk during the Bill Self basketball camp alumni scrimmage, Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the Horejsi Athletic Center.


Add “tough” to the list of words used to describe Kansas University freshman guard Josh Jackson, the No. 1 prospect in the recruiting Class of 2016 according to, and

Jackson, a 6-foot-8, 200-pounder from Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., scored 21 points off 10-of-17 shooting while helping his Blue team to a 92-85 victory over the Red squad in the Bill Self campers game on Wednesday in Horejsi Center.

He managed to escape injury after getting hammered by freshman forward Mitch Lightfoot on a second-half drive down the middle of the lane.

Jackson, who was hit going up for a right-handed layup, had his feet fly up in the air before he descended hard on his backside underneath the goal.

No hands broke his fall.

He immediately rolled over and placed his hands first on his head, then over his eyes in obvious pain.

“It wasn’t as bad as it looked. I just got the wind knocked out of me. It’s part of basketball,” said Jackson, who only needed a minute on the bench to make sure all of his body parts were where they were supposed to be, before returning to the scrimmage.

“Oh, yeah, he’ll definitely hear about it,” Jackson stated with a smile, asked if he’d tease Lightfoot about the play.

“He already did, a little bit, actually,” Jackson added of talking to the 6-8, 210-pound Lightfoot, who had 11 points for the Red team.

That play put a scare into several hundred campers, who otherwise stomped their feet in approval, with Jackson performing as well as advertised.

He had a steal and two-handed flush for his first bucket, then swished a 15-foot jumper. He also hit a floater in the lane, a three-pointer from the side and right-handed stickback of his own miss of a driving layup out of his left hand.

“It’s extremely intimidating,” Jackson said of running the court with the likes of veteran Frank Mason III, who had 24 points for Jackson’s Blue team; former KU forward Kevin Young, who had 16 points; senior Landen Lucas, who had 10; and former KU guard Brady Morningstar, who chipped in nine.

The losing Red team was led by sophomore Lagerald Vick, who had 29 points off 10-of-13 shooting, with seven threes.

“They are a lot stronger than I am. They’ve got a lot more experience. I’m just trying to learn a lot of things from them that they went through when they were in my position,” Jackson said. “I’m just trying to learn as many things as I can to help better myself and my team this year.”

Jayhawks past and present have given him some advice since his arrival on campus for summer school Monday.

“Probably a few I’ve been getting is to believe in myself a little bit,” Jackson said. “I know that I’m a freshman. Many people who have all these expectations for me, they just tell me not to let it go to my head, just let me play my game and let it all come naturally.”

He is willing to admit he feels “a lot of expectations. I’m just trying to come here, be part of a winning team, win as many games as we can and hopefully I fulfill every expectation I have this year.”

Music to fans’ ears will be his declaration that he’s in no hurry to head to the pros.

“Just to get better while I’m here,” he said of his own personal goals to go with the obvious — winning. “A lot of people would say I’m a one-and-done player. I don’t really view myself that way. I think I’ll be here as long as I need to be, until I feel I’m ready to take that next step. While I’m here, I want to get as good as I can and win as many games as I can.”

KU coach Self said this week he has been impressed with Jackson’s personality.

Jackson has gone out of his way to introduce himself to teammates and other students on campus, not wait for strangers to come up to him. The roommate of Vick and Carlton Bragg Jr. (14 points Wednesday), Jackson said he already has received the most help from Mason and Devonté Graham.

“I didn’t want to let anybody down. I just wanted to show them I could play and be helpful to the team this year,” Jackson said of his first conversations with his new teammates.

Jackson met the media Wednesday for the first time in a long time.

He hadn’t spoken since April at various prep all-star games. Until Wednesday, the Detroit native had not yet explained publicly why he chose Kansas over Arizona and Michigan State on April 11.

“I picked KU because I felt it would better me the most on and off the court as a man and as a player,” he said. “I felt like the coaching staff around here I could really trust. I loved all the guys on the team. I felt they were all playing for the right reasons. I got a real family feeling here. When I was here (on visit for Texas game), I knew in my mind this is the place I wanted to be.”

He said he felt a good vibe from the players on his visit.

“To win at all costs,” he said. “A lot of guys who have a lot of talent mainly worry about scoring and looking good. Me and the rest of the guys on the team … I can see it’s about winning. Each and every one of us will do whatever we have to do to make sure that happens.”

Of wanting to play for a tough coach like Self, he said: “Just because I know how I need to be coached to make myself a better player. I know every successful team has had a tough coach. I felt coach Self was the perfect coach to coach me. I don’t like things being handed to me at all. I believe that’s the way things should be done and the way things have always been done. Everything has to be done the right way.”

On a personal note, Jackson, whose mom, Apples Jones has been in town this week to help him get settled, has found Lawrence as pleasant as can be.

“I thought it would be a little cold, little gloomy,” he said. “I got here, and it was beaming sun in my face. I was like, ‘What, am I in Lawrence right now?’ I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was back in California.”

Recruiting update: KU has extended a scholarship offer to 6-5 small forward Marcedus Leech, who made an unofficial visit to campus Wednesday, reports. He’s a sophomore-to-be from Poplar Bluff (Mo.) High.


Josh Jackson 10-17 0-0 21, Evan Maxwell 3-5 0-0 7, Frank Mason III 10-13 0-0 24, Landen Lucas 4-6 2-2 10, Clay Young 2-2 0-0 5, Brady Morningstar 4-5 0-0 9, Kevin Young 8-11 0-0 16.


Lagerald Vick 10-13 2-2 29, Carlton Bragg 6-11 0-0 14, Udoka Azubuike 4-6 0-0 8, Devonte Graham 3-8 0-0 8, Mitch Lightfoot 5-9 1-2 11, Brannen Greene 4-9 0-0 9, Christian Garrett 1-2 0-0 2, Tyler Self 1-3 0-0 3.

Three-pointers: Blue (Mason 4, Clay Young, Jackson, Maxwell, Morningstar); Red (Vick 7, Bragg 2, Graham 2, Greene, Self).

x-Red team scoring is off one point.


Steve Zimmerman 6 years, 3 months ago

I can't believe the staff doesn't realize that court is waiting for some KU players to get hurt. The rim base is so bulky, so many players might get tripped, it's so close to the baseline. At least a couple of players were about to fall chasing the ball. Inbounding is also difficult. Too darn risky for our players to get hurt in a friendly show like this.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

I recall this same setting when Wiggins was a Freshman. Off the opening tip Wiggins took the ball to the rim for a dunk. Cole Aldrich was there and could have contested the dunk but let him go because of the setting. It wasn't so bad that Lightfoot tried to contest the play, after all he is a freshman trying to impress, but bringing his arm down across Jackson's upper body was over the line, for this kind of situation. Jackson's got to learn in league and NCAA play on a play like that, he's got to grab the rim to stabilize and protect himself, however. In this situation, he was probably surprised Lightfoot went after him. I bet there was a steamed Apple off the court.

Jackson's got the wording down pretty well for his first off the cuff presser.

Great to see BG back on campus. Hope he gets something going.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

What highlight did you watch? Lightfoot went for the block one handed. It wasn't even a hard foul, just a collision.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Watch it again. It was in the process of bringing down is arm with his momentum going the opposite way of Jackson's. Nothing we don't want to see in conference play or our big games vs. Duke, IU or UK...but not in something like yesterday's event.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Nothing there. Jackson just hit a bigger player at high speed.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

C'mon Jay...look again at Lightfoot's right arm on Jackson's left shoulder then coming down and out on his torso. Try looking at Jessie Newell's twitter account to see it in slo-mo.

Again, this is fine and encouraged if we were playing IU, Duke, UK, Conference or NCAA games or perhaps tough practices but not in a pick-up inter-squad scrimmage.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago's a simple and rather benign attempt to play D. Are the players told to play no D at all?

You're way off base. Give it a rest.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 3 months ago

Jay telling someone to 'give it a rest" is hilarious in and of itself, but I do agree with him on this point. Lightfoot blocked Jackson, and it actually looked pretty clean to me. His hand on the ball is what forced Jackson to fall that way.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

I get to be persistent because I'm always right. It's just how it is.....

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm pretty much in agreement with Jay.

Could ML just have let Josh have the dunk? Yes. But I am glad to see them playing hard and competing. This was one of those freak incidents that two players meet at the rim and one player loses his feet. I am very glad that Josh was OK after the fall, but this was no fault on Mitch. Contact happens. Had he suffered a concussion that would be highly unfortunate, but he wouldn't be the first to do so while playing pickup at KU. Josh will learn to absorb the contact this year. He will be playing against bigger, stronger players than ML who have no interest in Josh's health and well-being. He's gonna take much harder abuse in the first week of the regular season, probably even in practice come October.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Very true...starting with IU and Duke. Jackson's got to expect a lot of severe contact in those games. It won't be like anything he's ever experienced, ever. Again, he's got to spend quality time with Hudy right away.

In games like this it's best to follow Aldridge's example with Wiggins...let it go.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 3 months ago

I totally disagree here as well, it would have been awesome if Cole had met Wiggins up top and blocked the crap out of that dunk attempt. Welcome to the big time, young gun...

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

I must have replayed the video seven or eight times and I'm not sure if there even was a foul but I'm sure Lightfoot saw his life pass several times in his eyes. I get that Lightfoot isn't there to make highlight videos for Josh Jackson but save the hard collisions for fall.

Jackson can expect to be a target for hard fouls in his one and done career. Would have liked to have seen more of Lagerald Vick. Personally, I think his mechanics are better than Jackson's with a higher release but Jackson is explosive going to the hoop. He definitely looks like the real deal.

Maybe HCBS will go with a smaller lineup a.k.a. Golden State more so than in the past. This looks like one of the best three point shooting teams I've ever seen at Kansas... combine that with Self's high low/offense and wear down our opponents on both ends of the court. If you want to play on this team, you better play defense.

I didn't expect to get excited for next year's team so early after a disappointing finish last April.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

"This looks like one of the best three point shooting teams I've ever seen at Kansas"

We say that every year.... last year was the first time that we really attempted to exploit it.

Devonte is lethal. Svi can be lethal. Frank is more than adequate. Vick is an x-factor. Bragg is a capable stretch 4. And if Josh shoots a decent percentage (35%+) then we could be dangerous from downtown once again.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Jackson will probably shoot in the mid 20% from deep. His need to fix his jump shot will take a couple of years, i.e. Selden, Jackson will be a lot like Wiggins in that he'll get his points off transition, steals (better than Wiggs), and drives into the lane. Jackson is very fortunate to be playing with a bunch of successful, experienced, good shooting players....Wiggins never had that.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

Not buying mid 20%. Wiggins hit near 34%. Jackson needs to work on mechanics but his shots fall. If he can create space - and he will - he will be closer to wiggins than 25%

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm talking about shooting 3s. Jackson has a much slower and lower release than Wiggins...and just about anyone else. Jackson will have trouble getting his deep shots off, unless he's open by a couple of miles. Jackson has the whole package but his lack of physical strength and poor jump shot may keep him in college more than one year....if he's thinking about long term NBA success.

Mid 20s may be a bit server....but my bet is he's no better than 26%-32% range.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

Still not buying it. Your scouting report hardly sounds like the #1 recruit. Wiggins shot 34% from the three, thought that was obvious.

I don't believe you are giving HCBS much credit for his ability to get Jackson ready for the upcoming season.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

Hope never dies... unless you want the Cavs to beat Golden State.

Gary Bedore 6 years, 3 months ago

Brannen declined interview request today at the game which was kind of disappointing. Woulda liked to discuss his being a hero, etc.

The Lightfoot foul/Jackson fall was definitely scary. He was off balance and fell hard on his back with no hands to brace him. Maybe it's good he didn't get to use his hands as you could break a wrist doing that. Josh/KU got lucky today. He probably should have broken a bone somewhere. Instead just had wind knocked out of him.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

Very exciting stuff. Love the shooting percentages for Vick and Mason. Also love the JAM by Frank. Has he managed to come back even more athletic? Incredible.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

Gary, I've gotta know about Carlton Bragg's short shorts. Does he have them pulled up to his chest, or are they actually that short? Does he plan to wear them that short all year?

These are the questions that need to be asked.

Gary Bedore 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't know. I'll check it out. I vaguely remember last year reading an article about the shorts actually becoming shorter once again. Not like the old days but the trend was shorts hiking upward some.

Luca Rossi 6 years, 3 months ago

Great attitude by JJ, this guy is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

The biggest surprise to me was the "sophomore Lagerald Vick, who had 29 points off 10-of-13 shooting, with seven threes" line in the article. WOW. How come people aren't making more of this?? That's awesome. Would love to see Vick have a breakout year.

Andy Godwin 6 years, 3 months ago

Completely agree. Fans shouldn't under estimate Vick. He showed flashes last season of being a very good player and is being forgotten as a likely major contributor for the 2016-2017 season because of the newcomers. 29 points off of 13 shots is outstanding, even for a scrimmage.

Gerry Butler 6 years, 3 months ago

Ya I think Lagerald , just may be our hidden surprise, I like the kid I have always thought he has done well in the amount of time he was in- - would be just an added bonus for us. Hope he hangs tough--- - -cause I know his minutes will come.

Titus Canby 6 years, 3 months ago

On only a somewhat related note, did anyone watch the college softball championship on TV last night? OU had a player named Kady Self from Edmond. Is she related to Coach Self?

Gary, if so, any word from the Coach on this?

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Interesting observation. I bet she is a relation. Self showed his softball skill at the K last year when he belted that homer. Must be some kind of hereditary softball gene.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

"The losing Red team was led by sophomore Lagerald Vick, who had 29 points off 10-of-13 shooting, with seven threes".

7 threes for Vick! Really hoping he gets his shot this year. I would hate to see Vick transfer to go elsewhere in the same way we lost AW3. With Greene, Frankamp, Devante, Svi and Oubre being in the mix for 2014, I'm sure he thought he couldn't waste his junior year fighting for minutes at the 2 or 3 spot with the game out of reach. No one to blame, just the way things had worked out.

Looking forward to seeing AW3 make his return to the Fieldhouse next season after being named 2nd team All Big Ten in his first season last year. Would like to see him have a good game but in a losing cause.

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