Star recruit's mom says he's not being recruited

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 20, 2014 

Wing player Joshua Jackson, class of 2016, is ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in his class by every major recruiting service.

"KELLY KLINE" — "Kelly Kline/Under Armour"

There's no recruitment in the country quite like that of Joshua Jackson.

He's arguably the No. 1 basketball player in the class of 2016, but his mother says — as of right now — there's no one recruiting him at all. At least, that's the way she sees it.

Jackson was in the Atlanta area last week for the Under Armour finals, playing for the 1 Nation basketball club created by his mother, Apples Jones. There were college coaches all over the place, but Jones says none of them have been in contact with her or her son.

"People assume that Josh is being recruited by every college coach that you may see at his games, and it's actually not true," she told the Herald-Leader. "Yes, we're aware that they're watching him. But they don't communicate with us. We don't communicate with them. So, to me, it's not like he's being recruited.

"I've never been told by one coach that they've offered my son (a scholarship). I read that stuff, but that's what other people say. As far as we're concerned, Josh hasn't been recruited by anyone."

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Jackson — a 6-foot-6 wing player — was born in California while his mother was serving in the U.S. Navy. When her son was 8 months old, Jones moved him to Michigan so they could be close to her family.

There, he's blossomed into one of the best basketball players in the country and is now ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the class of 2016 by every major recruiting service.

MaxPreps.com named him the best sophomore in the nation following the 2013-14 season, when Jackson averaged 28 points and 14 rebounds per game for Voyageur Consortium High School.

He won't be back at Consortium next season. Jones would only confirm that her son is transferring to a school in California that will offer "higher educational standards" and an opportunity for more competition on the basketball court.

"If you look at Josh's stats and what he accomplished in those short two years of high school, to me the numbers were ridiculous," she said. "It showed me that it's time to move on."

The family announced the transfer via "1 Nation TV," a YouTube channel that Jones created so she could have some control over the news regarding her son. She promised more episodes on the channel in the near future.

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Jones has heard and read about how her son is being recruited by this school or that one, how some major programs have already offered scholarships and how he's considering reclassifying to 2015 to get a jump on college. "You know, the first time I heard about that one was in the paper," she said, adding that the plan is to keep Jackson in high school for two more seasons.

Looking past all of the unknowns surrounding Jackson and his recruitment, there's no denying his talent on the basketball court.

"He's a do-it-all wing," said Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels. "He really knows how to use his athleticism and is very good in transition. He's a lockdown perimeter defender. He can rebound.

"He just impacts the game in so many ways. A lot of these guys, they excel at one thing. Josh Jackson excels in a lot of things. He's an elite prospect."

Jackson didn't have anything to say about the college recruiting process, but he did talk about his game. He defined himself as "a slasher" offensively, a playmaker who can get to the basket and also find an open man when the defense collapses.

His best trait, he says, is as a defender. Jackson acknowledged that he pays attention to where his upcoming opponents are ranked by the recruiting services and relishes the opportunities to play against other five-star prospects.

1 Nation was scheduled to face Georgia-based Game Elite the morning following his conversation with the Herald-Leader. He didn't have to be told that one of the opposing players in that game would be a top-five recruit in the class of 2015 and a major UK target.

"We're playing Jaylen Brown," Jackson said with a smile. "I'll be checking him. ... To be good at defense you've got to like it. It gives me a great mindset. Like, if I'm checking a guy who's supposed to be tops in the country, and I can shut him down, that means something to me. It gets me going."

John Calipari was among the dozens of coaches who watched that game.

Jones knows she'll probably be speaking to him and many of his peers soon. In the meantime, she says she's "thankful" that her phone isn't ringing off the hook.

"I don't want to get to know the whole NCAA," she said. "That's too much. It's unnecessary. Whoever offers him, then I'll speak.

"When they offer, then we're talking. If they're not offering, then we're not talking."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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