Miles Bridges news unlikely to have any impact on Josh Jackson's decision


Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) lofts a shot over Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) during the first half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) lofts a shot over Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) during the first half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. by Nick Krug

I get it. I really do. And I’m right there with you. Sort of.

The idea of Kansas freshman Josh Jackson returning for his sophomore season is wonderful to think about. But it’s a total waste of time and, therefore, is hazardous to the health of Kansas basketball fans.

Like so many one-and-done Jayhawks before him, I’d love nothing more than to see Jackson return so we can watch a player of his ability, up close and personal, for another year.

But it’s not happening.

Not might. Not maybe he’ll be the guy who does it differently. Not Lloyd Christmas’ “So you’re telling me there’s a chance” line. Just not.

I’m sure most people know this. And I’m sure you all know the reasons why, so I won’t waste your time or mine rehashing that here. Jackson’s lifelong dream has been to play in the NBA and he’s about to be one of the top players picked in the draft. Easy decision.

With that said, I can’t blame those KU fans who do know it but are such die-hard Jayhawks that they can’t help but wish for even the longest of long shots to come through. That’s part of what being a fan is all about. As long as you can handle it when the bubble bursts.

In a move that has shocked all kinds of college basketball analysts, Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges, a likely lottery pick himself, appears to be returning for his sophomore year. He’ll make an announcement at Michigan State’s arena tonight, and, much like Roy Williams’ announcement the first time he was courted by North Carolina, you generally don’t get a bunch of people together to give them bad news.

So the likely assumption is that Bridges is staying. Good for him. He’s got Top 3 potential and could — could — help himself a little by returning for a second season in East Lansing.

His return, if that’s what’s happening, will be great for college basketball and, obviously, even greater for Tom Izzo and the Spartans.

Because Bridges and Jackson grew up together and come from the same environment, many KU fans have spun the Bridges news into having some kind of impact on Jackson’s decision.

I also get that. But I don’t really see it changing anything for the Big 12 freshman of the year.

Let me put it this way: Before I heard about Bridges, I thought there was a 0.0 percent chance that Jackson would return to Kansas. Now that I know about Bridges’ upcoming announcement, I’ve moved my thinking about a possible Jackson return to 0.5 percent. That’s still less than 1 percent and every inch of my brain believes Jackson is leaving.

And good for him. He’s ready. He’ll be an incredible pro and I think he’ll wind up being even better in the NBA than Andrew Wiggins already is. He may never be the scorer that Wiggins is — although I wouldn’t rule it out — but I think he’ll be a much, much better all-around player and he’ll be in position to make a big time impact on whatever team is lucky enough to land him as soon as next season.

For the selfish side of getting to cover and watch Jackson play for one more season, and for the incredible story side of covering the guy who, like Tim Duncan 20 years ago, would be turning down an opportunity to be a Top 3 pick and all of that money for another season of college basketball, I’d love for Jackson to return.

But I haven’t spent even a total of one minute thinking it was going to happen and I don’t think those close to him have either. Remember, KU coach Bill Self has said repeatedly, both recently and as far back as last fall, that Jackson's a one-year guy and that he's not holding his breath for him to return. That's not a coach guarding his heart. That's a coach being realistic.

Bridges news or not, Jackson’s turning pro and the delay in his announcement, which has contributed to the sliver of hope that KU fans still have for him to shock the world, is merely circumstantial. He’s in no hurry. Nor does he need to be. He’ll announce it when he’s ready, just like he’ll be turning pro when he’s ready.


John Fitzgerald 5 years, 3 months ago

Jackson has also had legal issues to deal with, such as the car vandalism situation. I'm assuming that was his first priority as NBA GM's will likely ask about it. And when they do, he can now say "I made a dumb mistake but it's settled now and I'm applying for a diversion." Which will kill that question and the concern that comes with it as opposed to if he hadn't settled the issue yet. So, having said that I expect him to announce any day. Either by tomorrow or early next week. And I'm giving him a 0.000000001% chance of staying.

Creg Bohrer 5 years, 3 months ago

I agree John when this first came out that he was the person who vandalized that car my first thought was this could end up costing him way more than just repairing a car, it could cost him several draft spots. Pretty sure NBA executives shy away from those who have had legal issues let alone someone involved in one currently I know if I was giving a young man a 15 million dollar contract it would be a factor for me. Being that it's just a diversion and if he gets in trouble again it'll end up being a lot worse he might end up slipping a few spots. It maybe enough for him to think about coming back until the legal issues are behind him.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 3 months ago

Since the top like draft prospects usually skip the combine, Jackson's best negotiating position would be to wait to the very end, May 24th or whenever that is, to make an announcement. If I have the dates right, the final date to withdraw comes a couple of days after the lottery order is finalized. The Jackson team will be able to smoke out the team(s) most likely to draft him. He'll then be able to use the return to college option as a negotiating hedge for a couple of days. That's what I'd do being in his position ... keep every option open to make the best possible deal.

Cliff Leiker 5 years, 3 months ago

I remember once upon a time running up against a female student at my dorm who had it out for me. She manipulated the facts of the situation to paint an unfavorable picture. I believe that Mr. Jackson has found himself in a very similar situation. I believe the female basketball player, along with her father, is milking the situation to see what they can get out of it.

As for Jackson returning next year, wouldn't that be a huge blessing. This young man seems to have a conscience. He doesn't appear to be hurting for money either, so it is quite possible that the NBA can wait another year. He wants to win a collegiate championship. In addition, he probably wants to be a member of the college team that rewrites history and sets the record for most consecutive league championships. Lastly, he would probably be first team all-america and have a shot at those other trophies.

I think we have a fighter's chance. RCJH

Pius Waldman 5 years, 3 months ago

Suzi has the situation and the solution greatly stated. The court cases need to be completed before the draft. Now think about this: Bridges is a very talented prospect and watching him against KU certainly not rated below Jackson. Maybe Jackson wants a championship ring and his jersey in the rafters. Has to return to gain both.

Scott Proch 5 years, 3 months ago

I could only see him waiting to see WHICH team he thinks he'll go to before announcing as I believe the first 3 years of salary are fixed for 1st rounders. Maybe he wants the court thing behind him before negotiating with Adidas?

Chris Teegarden 5 years, 3 months ago

I in no way think he will actually stay, but with the competitor he is if he were to stay it would be because of the bad taste left in his mouth from the end of the season.

Martin Rosenblum 5 years, 3 months ago

There's more of a chance of ME playing for KU than Josh Jackson, and I'm 5-9, well past college age and have a 2" vertical leap!

Jeff Foster 5 years, 3 months ago

I don't know, I hear he's coming back! #lateAprilfools :-)

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