University of Kansas

KU notebook: Josh Jackson seeks perfect season; Deng Gak slices recruiting list

KU freshman Josh Jackson sails down the lane for a dunk as the Jayhawks warm up for their scrimmage during Late Night in the Phog festivities at Allen Fieldhouse.
KU freshman Josh Jackson sails down the lane for a dunk as the Jayhawks warm up for their scrimmage during Late Night in the Phog festivities at Allen Fieldhouse. rsugg@kcstar.com

Josh Jackson is thinking big as his first — and perhaps last — college basketball season begins.

“We’re going for a national championship this year,” Jackson, Kansas’ 6-foot-8 freshman guard, said in the cover story of USA Today’s college basketball preview section. “We’re also trying to go undefeated. Hopefully that happens. I know it’s hard to do, but we’ve got the power to do it.”

Indiana was the last team to go undefeated — back in 1975-76. Kentucky most recently rolled to a perfect 38-0 record before falling to Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA Final Four.

Jackson, considered a likely one-and-done college player, and the rest of his KU teammates will speak to reporters Thursday at KU basketball Media Day. It is closed to the public.

Josh Jackson and his KU teammates show off dunks during warmup before the scrimmage at the Late Night in the Phog.

Deng Gak cuts list to three

Deng Gak, a 6-foot-9 senior forward from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., who is ranked No. 91 in the recruiting class of 2017, has narrowed his list of schools to KU, Miami and Florida, his high school coach, Joe Mantegna, told Zagsblog.com. Gak, who was born in Egypt and lived in Australia most of his life, has eliminated Indiana and Duke.

Gak will visit Florida on Oct. 19 and KU on Oct. 21. He’s already visited Miami. He plans to sign with a school during the Nov. 9-16 early signing period.

Duke calling on Young again?

It looks as if Duke is trying to get involved in the recruitment of Trae Young, a 6-2 senior guard from Norman (Okla.) North High, who is scheduled to visit Kansas on Oct. 21-23. Young also has Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kentucky, Washington and Oklahoma State on his list.

“I feel like they (Blue Devils) are trying to get back in,” Young told ESPN.com at the USA Basketball minicamp in Colorado Springs, Colo. “They kind of hopped off on me (during summer). They felt like they had the players, I guess, at my position. I’m going to talk to my family and see how they feel,” Young added.

Young, the No. 14-ranked player in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, told Scout.com he definitely will wait until the spring to choose a school.

“Coach (Bill) Self has been in contact with me since my sophomore summer so he’s been on me forever. I mean it’s a blue blood. It’s not too far from home. And it’s in the Big 12 Conference. I love the way they play and the way he utilizes his guards as well,” Young told Scout.com.

Kentucky, Oklahoma and KU have been viewed as his favorites.

“I mean just the family environment that I would have at Oklahoma. I really love it there, I really enjoy it there. The style of play I feel really fits my game so that’s definitely a plus, so I really enjoy Oklahoma,” Young said.

Kentucky coach John Calipari also has pursued Young a long time.

“You’re on the biggest stage of college basketball. He’s going to everything he can to put you to the next level and that’s every kid’s dream. He’s going to make you better in the process of getting you prepared for that level,” Young said.

Sexton to decide in early period

Collin Sexton, a 6-1 senior point guard from Pebblebrook High in Mableton, Ga., who also attended the USA Basketball camp, will sign with a school during the November signing period he told Rivals.com. The country’s No. 7-rated player has a list of KU, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State.

Grandview’s Lathon offered by CU

Jordan Lathon, a 6-4 junior guard from Grandview (Mo.) High, recently visited Colorado and has been offered a scholarship by coach Tad Boyle, a former KU guard. Lathon has also heard from Missouri, Butler, Tulsa, DePaul, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Air Force, Boise State and others.

Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks, who played at Colorado, also attended Grandview High.

“They (CU coaches) talked about Alec for sure,” Lathon told Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “They talked about how they didn’t coach him as a freshman, but they came in and helped take his points per game from 10 to 22. They talked about how they’ve had pretty good success with a player from Grandview.”

Of Lathon, Bossi said: “During the summer and his first two years of high school, Lathon always impressed with his athleticism, length and pushing 6-foot-4 size. Over the past few months he’s tightened up his ball handling, developed his jumper and learned to play with more intensity.”

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