Bill Self spoke to the Seth Davis Show about how special of an athlete he has in freshman superstar Josh Jackson.
Bill Self is no stranger to training and developing high-profile basketball players. From Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur to Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, Self has molded countless NBA prospects since taking over the Kansas program in 2003.
And in the 2016-17 season, that same narrative will once again play out in Lawrence. Josh Jackson, the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2017 class, headlines a Jayhawks squad that has been named one of the top 3 teams in the country in numerous preseason polls. The Jayhawks are in great position to make yet another Final Four appearance come March.
Self recognizes what a special team he has under his helm and the caliber of player he has in Jackson. In his interview on the Seth Davis Show, Self broke down just how unique of an athlete Jackson really is.
“I don’t know of a lot of people who are 6-foot-8 that can do all the things Josh can: shoot, pass, see it, feel it…” Self said.
Jackson’s versatility is well-documented – he has a feel for the game and vision on the court that matches that of a true floor general. As with any athlete in the country, though, Self is aware that Jackson still has plenty of work to do before receiving the option of being a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
“He’s got some things he needs to improve, because he’s not a natural scorer, per se,” Self said. “I think at age 18 or 19 it’s okay to have things you need to work on. And certainly he’s got things [to improve upon], and he’d be the first to tell you that. But as far as how he sees the game and feels the game, he’s well beyond his years.”
Self couldn’t be more spot-on: Jackson would absolutely be the first to tell you that. In an interview with Seth Davis, Jackson admitted, “Now, will I be in the NBA next year? I don’t know if I can say yes to that right now. I’m waiting to see how I play, and to talk about it with my family a little bit. We’ll see if it’s right for me at that time.”
And it’s for reasons such as these that Jackson is widely considered a preseason All-American candidate and NBA lottery pick by an array of media outlets. His pure talent level on the floor and maturity off the court are remarkable for someone of that age.
Jackson undoubtedly has some high standards to live up to in Lawrence, but any player receiving this praise from a coach of Self’s stature is surely on a path to greatness.