Earlier this week, Rivals.com’s top recruit Josh Jackson signed with Kansas, meaning basketball coach Bill Self could officially comment on the 6-foot-8 guard.
“He is very similar to Andrew Wiggins. He’s a tall guard that can do a lot of everything,” Self said. “We feel his impact on our program next year will be as much as any freshman will have on any college program.”
It was high praise for Jackson, though one also has to take the comments for what they’re worth. Coaches often are overly optimistic about players right after they sign, mostly because they want to extend appreciation to the signee (and his parents, coaches and high school/AAU programs) for picking their school.
With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to look back to previous Self quotes from the day a player signed.
Below are 13 player descriptions from Self quotes (with names removed). Can you tell which player he is describing in each case?
“His skill level, knowledge and aptitude for the game are way beyond his years. I think that he will be an immediate impact guy. He is a guy that can play all three positions on the perimeter. At 6-8, he can play point, play the No. 2 (guard) or the No. 3 (guard). He allows us to be more versatile next year and certainly, there would be few people that would shoot it better than him.” Player No. 1
“It’s a huge get. Not only did we get one of the best prospects in the country, a player that certainly fills a need on the perimeter for us, but we also recruited his family for several years and to see everything come full circle and come back to KU, I think it’s a huge get for the University of Kansas. I think he has a chance to come in and impact this team in a big way as one of our big perimeter players. He’s big. He’s a legit 6-6, he has a big body, and certainly can defend the three and post. He can do some different things that we weren’t able to do much of, or any of, last year.” Player No. 2
“He had numerous opportunities to go to division one schools on scholarship but he wanted to be at Kansas. I think he is a guy that will have a chance to impact our team in a comparable way that Christian Moody did. He’s not coming here to just be a part of our team. He’s coming here to impact our team from a playing time standpoint as well. I love his attitude. I love his commitment to Kansas. I feel like we are very fortunate to have him.” Player No. 3 (Photo)
“He was heavily recruited by schools across the country for the past two to three years. His decision to pick Kansas after such an intense recruiting period with many other good choices definitely will impact our program in an immediate way. He is one of the premier athletes in America. He has excellent perimeter shooting skills and can certainly score in the post. His athletic ability and shot-blocking should make him a presence defensively. His versatility will definitely be a bonus for our team and will allow us to play with more interchangeable parts.” Player No. 4
“He comes from a great, athletic family and was a very, very good player in high school. We have always thought of him as a guy who is so unselfish that he would be even a better player in college because he didn’t have to adjust to how he played from his high school days. He is attending prep school and is thought to be one of the best prep school players on the east coast. We feel like as he grows into his frame physically and develops some strength, with his present athletic ability, he can come in here and definitely help us win games.” Player No. 5 (Photo)
“He is a rebounder. He goes after every ball. He’s a high energy guy that probably has as good a motor as anybody we’ve had since we’ve been here. He has a chance to be about as good of a rebounder as there is in this senior class. His skill-set is improving all the time. He is a good passer and ball handler. His shot is improving. He’s a prototypical athletic four man. We think he is a fabulous young man. He’s pretty quiet, but getting more talkative as he gets comfortable with the situation. I think he’ll be a great teammate. He really cares about winning.” Player No. 6
“We definitely have a need for a big guy and he’s big enough that he can defend the five (post) and certainly skilled enough that he can step away from the basket and shoot the basketball. He was obviously highly recruited because his final choices were four other great programs. We’re fortunate he fell in love with this place when he came out here in the summer and we were able to convince him on his official visit this past weekend. He can shoot it. He can pass it. He understands the game like the big guys we’ve had here in the past, such as Sasha (Kaun) and Darnell (Jackson) that really have a great feel on how to play.” Player No. 7
“We’re very excited about signing him. He is a 6-3 combo guard that can play both on the ball and off the ball because he is an excellent shooter. We’ve been recruiting him for the past three years, and because of our limited scholarship situation had been encouraging him to sign in the spring. We felt there would be a scholarship available then. Since we did not sign a wing in the fall, we did everything we could to try and convince him to sign now. This is a great signing for us, an exciting day for him, his family and everyone that supports Kansas basketball. He has only lost two games in his (high school) basketball career. He lost in the state tournament last year and I know his goal is to win a state championship this year. His father has done a great job coaching him and preparing him for the next level. We are excited to get another coach’s son in the program.” Player No. 8
“I thought we definitely needed a playmaker and we were able, at a late date, to fall into him and we couldn’t be happier. He’s 6-8, thin and can play multiple positions. He reminds me a lot of Julian Wright — very bouncy, very athletic. He will most definitely be an impact player for us next season.” Player No. 9
“We are all very excited about him. We feel so fortunate that we were able to sign him. Even though we got involved recruiting him late, we saw him play a ton over the last couple of summers. He reminds me so much of Aaron Miles. He’s a good solid point guard, quick, athletic and has become a very good shooter. I really believe he will be a great addition to our program.” Player No. 10
“He graduated this past week. He is in Lawrence, enrolled and attending class and is officially a Kansas Jayhawk. I’m excited for him. He’s got length and reminds me so much of Tyshawn (Taylor), including recruiting in that he committed to FIU (Florida International), and they had a coaching change and we were fortunate enough to recruit him after that. He’s got a lot of upside. He’s a combo guard that can certainly play on the ball. He’s also big enough and skilled enough to play off the ball and a very good athlete. I think he’ll give us great depth in our backcourt.” Player No. 11
“He has progressed to the point to where he may play as much on the perimeter than on the inside for us. He’s going to be a three man. He has a very good skill-set. He’s an athlete. He can really, really run. (He) is so explosive and so strong now. I’ve seen him develop and I think he’s prepared to have an impactful freshman year because we can pretty much put him out there and he can figure it out because he’s so versatile.” Player No. 12
“His potential is untapped. I think he’s just now starting to figure it out and get confidence. He will develop and be one of the very best tall guys in college basketball in just a year or two. The way we play, we can move him around and he made me a much better coach when he put his name on the dotted line.” Player No. 13 (Photo)
If the links didn’t work, here are the answers:
1. Svi Mykhailiuk
2. Xavier Henry
3. Conner Teahan
4. Darrell Arthur
5. Brady Morningstar
6. Thomas Robinson
7. Landen Lucas
8. Tyrel Reed
9. Kevin Young
10. Naadir Tharpe
11. Milton Doyle
12. Perry Ellis
13. Joel Embiid
To test your knowledge on a few more of these, be sure to check out our latest SportsBeat KC podcast.