Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-7 guard and Rivals.com’s top-ranked player in the class of 2016, committed to the Kansas men’s basketball team on Monday, picking KU over finalists Michigan State and Arizona.
Jackson, from Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., announced his decision at 7:33 p.m. Central time through his j_josh11 Twitter account.
“Next year I will be attending Kansas University,” the tweet said with an attached photo of himself photoshopped into a blue KU uniform.
Jackson’s commitment means Self has landed three of the last seven top-ranked prospects in Rivals.com’s rankings, including Josh Selby in 2010 and Andrew Wiggins in 2013. Duke has two No. 1 commits over that time, while no other team has more than one.
“He’s the best player in transition that I’ve ever scouted,” Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi said. “The only way you’re going to stop him from getting where he wants to go in transition is for him to make a mistake on his own, at least on the high school level. Obviously, as you move onto college, it’s going to become more difficult. But he really is electric in transition.”
Bossi says ball-handling, decision making and shooting are all areas where Jackson can still improve.
“There’s a little bit of a hitch in his jumpshot, which shows, because he’s not been the greatest free-throw or three-point shooter yet,” Bossi said. “But it’s not completely broken, and I think that he’s a worker who, when he gets with a college coaching staff, is going to get in the gym and work on things.”
Jackson’s commitment only further stacks KU’s backcourt for 2016-17. Starting guards Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham, who helped KU to a 30-4 record before the NCAA Tournament, are expected to be back next season, leaving the Jayhawks in a great spot even after Wayne Selden and Brannen Greene’s announcements to turn pro.
The Jayhawks’ frontcourt should be solid as well. Landen Lucas will be a senior next season, and indications are that Carlton Bragg has a strong chance of returning even with a weak NBA draft pool. The Jayhawks also are bringing in McDonald’s All-America selection Udoka Azubuike and 117th-ranked Mitch Lightfoot, have Ole Miss transfer Dwight Coleby coming back.
Jackson’s pledge should ensure, even without any other additions, that KU will be preseason top-five nationally and the overwhelming pick to win the Big 12.