Kansas senior Frank Mason, coach Bill Self and freshman Josh Jackson all spoke Thursday about off-court issues surrounding the KU basketball team, and specifically Jackson.
Jackson was charged Feb. 24 with misdemeanor property damage of a car outside a Lawrence bar and has an April 12 arraignment in Douglas County District Court. On March 8, he was suspended for one game by KU coach Bill Self after he discovered Jackson had been cited for three traffic violations after backing into a car on campus and not reporting it to police. Jackson has a March 27 date in Lawrence Municipal Court for that citation.
On Thursday, a court affidavit containing witness statements to police was released. The document confirms and brings to light new details about what The Star reported took place Dec. 9 inside the Yacht Club and outside, where Jackson allegedly kicked women’s basketball player McKenzie Calvert’s car.
Jackson spoke before the Jayhawks practiced at the BOK Center in advance of their first-round NCAA Tournament game against UC Davis on Friday. The 5:50 p.m. game will be Jackson’s first since the suspension, which he served in KU’s Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal loss last week.
Jackson was asked if he had comments about the continuing “drip of information” about him and whether it was a distraction.
“I have no comment on the drip of information that’s still coming out,” Jackson said. “But I don’t think it’s really a distraction at all. I think it was when it first came out. But it happened so long ago.
“I honestly don’t see any reason to keep talking about it. It’s already over. It’s said and done.”
Jackson was then asked if he felt it could be old business if the cases have yet to be adjudicated.
“It’s old business,” he replied.
While answering another question outside KU’s locker room, Self referenced the date of the Yacht Club incident, saying, “What’s transpired obviously happened over three months ago, and so anything that’s been written or said certainly is old hat. And I think our guys have heard enough. I think it’s water off their back.”
A statement from a KU Athletics official released Thursday indicated no further discipline would be issued because of the information in the affidavit. Self said only basketball issues would affect Jackson’s playing time or role in the tournament.
“I think Josh is focused. I do. He’s a tough-minded individual. I think he’s focused,” Self said. “And certainly his role or playing time or whatnot, whatever will only be dictated by what happens between the lines. It won’t be dictated by anything else. And I think he’s ready to go.”
Jackson was asked if he was disappointed in himself.
“I felt like I made a couple mistakes that definitely could have been avoided,” Jackson said. “Small mistakes. But nothing I can do about it now. Just not make the same mistakes again.”
After the KU locker room was closed to media following a 30-minute open interview session, and about 20 minutes after the Jayhawks’ open practice ended, Jackson published two posts on Twitter.
The first said “Lol yeah believe everything you read on the internet because it’s always true” and the second said “ “Allegedly” ”.
Earlier, teammate Frank Mason was asked how Jackson handled his suspension.
“I think he’s handled it great. Josh is a great kid. We all love him,” Mason said. “So we just tell him to focus on the things that he can take care of and that’s exactly what he does.
“We’re not really worried about anything off the court.”
In the final question of his news conference, Self was asked about his approach in handling off-court issues without letting it disrupt the team.
“I think, you know, when you have a family, obviously you go through stuff. And a lot of times you go through stuff, but nobody on the outside knows you’re going through it. But we go through it,” Self said. “And this has been a situation with us that’s been very public about some of the things that we’ve been going through. And you know, it’s probably affected one of our players far more than anyone else.
“And the thing about it is — and I believe this, and I think our players totally buy into this. First thing you do, you accept responsibility for what’s transpired. You can’t run from it. If it happened, it happened. But then, you know, how do you handle it from that point, I think, is a lot of times is as important as what actually transpired. And our guys have rallied around this. Our guys have rallied around Josh.
“It’s not easy to have your name across the ticker each and every day about something when somebody keeps bringing up an additional thing or two when we already know this took place a long — quite a while ago. So I think that they’ve handled it well. I don’t know that they’ve used it as motivation because I don’t think it should be motivation, but I also don’t think it should be an excuse and a distraction. I think it’s just sometimes families you go through stuff and you just gotta put blinders on and go at the job at hand, and I think they’ve kind of found their basketball court as their safe haven.”