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The Daily Wildcat

 

Top recruit Josh Jackson mulling over three schools

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Arizona head coach Sean Miller throws his arms upward following the Wildcats’ victory over California in McKale Center on Thursday, March 3. Miller will get to play with many pieces of the puzzle next season with many new additions and recruits headed Arizona’s way.

College basketball fans finally received a first glimpse as to what to expect from the freshman class for next season in the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago on Wednesday night. The top uncommitted prospect, No. 2 small forward and the No. 3 prospect in the country, Josh Jackson, stole the show, earning co-MVP honors with 19 points and three rebounds. 

Programs across the country were foaming at the mouth and menacingly rubbing their hands imagining the athleticism and offensive game that Jackson could bring to the table. 

He has cut his list to three schools—UA, Kansas and Michigan State—so the battle between college basketball’s blue-blood coaches is in full effect. Each program believes they’re in good position for the Jackson sweepstakes and until the words actually come out of his mouth, college basketball fans will just have to hold their breath. 

Arizona

Head coach Sean Miller knows his team is in desperate need for productivity in the small forward position. Miller had no other choice but to place Allonzo Trier, who was a natural shooting guard, at small forward. 

Trier was playing out of position and sometimes revealed his incapability of playing small forward with the bigger defensive matchups, especially against Oregon’s Dillon Brooks. So Jackson can revive the Wildcats in that field. 

A video posted on Instagram by Kobi Simmons stated that Jackson is going to be a future commit to Arizona and Jackson wasn’t phased by it. In fact, Jackson embraced Simmons’ video, which raised eyebrows of many people who follow recruiting. 

In the McDonald’s All-American media day on Tuesday, Jackson touched on the conversation he had with Miller. Both have experience with each other on USA’s basketball team in the FIBA U19 World Championships a summer ago. 

“I think that was a good experience to bond a little bit and for me to get a feel on how he is as a coach,” Jackson told Prep Hoops Illinois. “I like what I saw of him. I can say over that short span of time that we worked together, he made me a better player.”

Miller has already had in-game coaching experience with Jackson so that could potentially be the deciding factor for five-star recruit. 

Kansas

The good folks of Lawrence, Kansas, believe that they have just as much of a shot to land Jackson as the ones in the Old Pueblo. 

Rock Chalk nation has a great chance to woo Jackson just by the Jayhawks’ current situation with players either graduating or bolting to the NBA. 

If Jackson were to take his talents to Kansas, he would be an immediate starter as well as a true leader. Head coach Bill Self is losing three players capable of playing the small forward position in Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis and Devonte’ Graham. 

The rich history behind Kansas’ basketball program put the Jayhawks in great position and Self can maintain the trend of coaching top small forward prospects.   

“A lot of history and a great program,” Jackson said. “Coach Self is a great coach … and he pushes his players to make them better no matter who they are. Like [Andrew] Wiggins last year, he pushed him a lot.”

Michigan State

Though many believe Tom Izzo is on the outside looking in since Jackson never took an official visit to the school, Sparty is in very serious contention to land the small forward. 

Jackson hails from Flint, Michigan, which is only a 52-minute trek to East Lansing, and with Jackson claiming to be acquaintances with the current recruits, wearing green and white is a possibility for the wing.   

“I’m really good friends with all of their 2016 recruits and Michigan State is home,” Jackson said. “That’s where I’m from and I’ve been watching them for so many years and I grew up a State fan.”  

Follow the Daily Wildcat on Twitter @DailyWildcat, @WildcatHoops and @WildcatSports for breaking recruit updates.


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