Friday, October 7, 2016

Bill Self: More polished jumper could make Josh Jackson ‘unbelievable’

Kansas newcomer Josh Jackson throws down a dunk for the crowd during Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas newcomer Josh Jackson throws down a dunk for the crowd during Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


When you’re the top-rated recruit in the entire country your game tends to be scrutinized at a whole different level.

Forget about the 26.9 points, 13.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists Kansas freshman Josh Jackson averaged during his senior season at Prolific Prep in Napa, California. One of the hottest pieces of news regarding Jackson when he first arrived on the KU campus this summer was the odd hitch in his jump shot.

Clearly the funky stroke that jumped out at people, both in person and watching on video, during this summer’s camp scrimmages did nothing to prevent Jackson from becoming one of the more dangerous and dynamic scorers in the 2016 class. But Kansas coach Bill Self, who acknowledged Jackson’s odd form this summer, addressed it again on Thursday night at the Coaches vs. Cancer tipoff event in Downtown Kansas City.

“I think it’s fair to say that he can tighten his stroke up,” Self said of the 6-foot-8 forward from Detroit. “I think it’s fair to say he can improve. It’s fair to say he’s not pure, by any stretch. But neither was (Andrew Wiggins), neither was Wayne (Selden), neither was (Kelly) Oubre.

“Ben (McLemore) was probably the closest thing we’ve seen to having somebody that could really shoot the ball with distance consistently as a freshman. But Ben also couldn’t do many, many other things that some of those other guys and Josh could do. So everybody has their own unique skill set.”

For Jackson, that repertoire includes everything from defense and rebounding to creating off the dribble and finishing at the rim. Because those elements of his game already are so polished, Self could not help but imagine how high Jackson’s ceiling could be if his jumper fell in line with those other strengths.

“If people are saying about Josh, ‘Man, he can really shoot,’ then we’re gonna have an unbelievable player,” Self said. “Because what he can do when the ball is not in his hands and what he can do to create shots for others and things like that is far superior than anybody we’ve had his size, by far.”

To that end, thanks to the hard work and effort he has seen Jackson already put into his shot, Self sounded confident about KU’s latest freshman phenom

“I think it’s OK for a guy to be maybe not the best at one skill set, (as long as) it’s one he’s in which he’s getting better and he’s improving,” Self said. “I’d be surprised if he doesn’t become a good shooter, but that’s gonna take a little bit of time.”


Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

All this chatter is to get Jackson more space to shoot his jumper that's far more effective than they're saying.....

Noah Oone 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree, Jay. People everywhere act like the guy can't shoot at all. He had some nice shooting in the McDonald's game - I recommend those that have not watched it to do so. Yes, he will be streaky. Will it be terrible? Probably not. Wiggins could be streaky too, but he was not a bad shooter. And for those that think form is all that matters in shooting, don't forget Cole Aldrich. It is all about muscle memory (I speak from experience).

Humpy Helsel 5 years, 8 months ago

Years ago I watched a guy by the name of Anthony Roberts who played at Oral Roberts (who lit up KU at the Fieldhouse his senior year for about 25 points by the way), who had one of the funkiest looking shots I've ever seen. Probably why ORU could land a guy like him. He averaged 32 ppg his senior year and that was before the 3 point line existed. And he could score from anywhere. With that said, sometimes a guy has to completely rebuild his shot from scratch to change old habits and he'll need help to do it. You can't really do that during the season. It has to occur in the off season. For now, for the one year we have this guy, let him do his thing. He'll have plenty of time and be well paid to work on his shot full time in the very near future.

Lois Barnes 5 years, 8 months ago

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