Markese Jacobs still has two years of high school to complete before he begins his college career at Kansas during the 2019-20 season.
By then, fellow Chicago native/former Mac Irvin Fire AAU teammate Charlie Moore will be a redshirt junior, with two years of eligibility remaining with the Jayhawks.
“It’s exciting. It’s crazy how it’s all falling together. It’s all the pieces of the puzzle falling into place,” Jacobs, a 5-foot-11 sophomore from Chicago’s Uplift Community High School said Wednesday in a phone interview.
If all goes according to the current plan, 5-foot-11 Cal freshman Moore, who on Tuesday announced plans to transfer from the Pac-12 school to KU, will replace next year’s starting point guard (either Devonté Graham or still-uncommitted one-and-done recruit Trevon Duval) during the 2018-19 campaign.
Then Jacobs, who is transferring to Phoenix Hillcrest Prep for his junior season of high school, in 2019-20 will enter the picture ready to play minutes as either a starter at one of the guard slots next to Moore or as a key reserve. Moore will have used up his KU eligibility prior to the start of Jacobs’ junior season in 2021-22.
“I was shocked,” Jacobs said of his reaction Tuesday to Moore choosing KU. “There were rumors (of) Illinois, Kansas. I said, ‘If he goes to Kansas, that will be a great move.’ It’s good we’ll both be there. It will make me more comfortable knowing if I mess up, he’ll have my back. If he messes up, I’ll have his back.”
Jacobs, who played AAU ball in a younger age group than Moore, watched Moore at many practices and games over the years competing for Mac Irvin Fire.
“Charlie … of all his games, I can’t remember him having a bad game. He was shooting well every game, passing well, doing everything a point guard should do,” Jacobs said.
“Charlie is very exciting to watch,” Jacobs added of Moore, who averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists his freshman season at Cal. “He’s very talented. He is explosive, has the handles. At Cal he showed he can be one of the elite guards in college basketball. I feel Kansas is going to change him. At Kansas he’ll have a breakout year (after practicing a season and being eligible to play in games in 2018-19).”
Jacobs can see similarities Both are listed at 5-11, 170.
“He’s quick. I’m quick,” Jacobs said. “He is little. I’m little. He can shoot it well. I can shoot it somewhat well. He has heart. I have heart. The only difference between me and him I want to say is the athletic part.”
Some of Jacobs’ dunks — which are available at youtube.com — show him skying high and slamming in acrobatic fashion. Moore is not known for his slams.
Chicagoans Moore and Jacobs coincidentally are the same listed height as another KU guard from Chicago — 5-11 Sherron Collins, who spoke with both Jacobs and Moore before each committed to Kansas.
“That is a high chance,” Jacobs said of Collins following the college careers of Jacobs and Moore closely. “Sherron has been sticking around Kansas a long time. He’ll come to support us two. Sherron is a great person on and off the court. He’s a person you want to be around. He cracks jokes from time to time, but he knows when to get serious. He’s a man of all business.”
Collins told The Star he’s ready for a return to professional basketball as soon as this summer. He’s played in the past in the NBA Development League and overseas after a short stint in the NBA.
“I’m going to make another run at the NBA — summer league” said Collins, 30. “I’m going to lock in. Talent-wise I feel like I can play. I talked to coach Brown (Larry, former KU and NBA coach) about it. I’m willing to put in the work, do what it takes. I feel I can do some things at that level.”
Jacobs’ brother to Hillcrest, too
Markese Jacobs’ brother, Demarius, a 6-foot-2 former Southern Illinois commit, is now in the recruiting class of 2018. He will join Markese at Hillcrest Prep next season.
“It really will be different. I can’t even imagine it right now,” Markese said, acknowledging the big difference from life in Chicago compared to Arizona.
Hutch’s Juiston to UNLV
Shakur Juiston, a 6-7 sophomore forward from Hutchinson Community College, has committed to UNLV over DePaul and Iowa State.
For a time, he also had KU, Rutgers and Rhode Island on his list of schools.
Incoming KU transfers Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson and Moore, who are ineligible to play in games this season, will be able to take part in the 10 practices leading up to KU’s trip to Italy this summer, KU coach Bill Self told The Star on Wednesday.
As far as playing in the exhibition games in Italy, Self said he was checking on that and would not know for sure for a couple of weeks. He said the hope is they would be able to play in the exhibitions.
Transfer Sam Cunliffe, who is not eligible to play for KU in games until second semester, also can practice but it’s also not yet known for sure whether he can play in the exhibition games.