Josh Jackson has plenty on his plate — forthcoming appearances at the McDonald’s All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit, an impending decision on his collegiate future and the minor detail of finishing high school — he’s still been sure to check out plenty of the NCAA Tournament. That might concern fans of Michigan State and Arizona, two of the three schools still vying for Jackson’s services at the next level (Kansas is the other). According to the star himself in an interview with USA Basketball, they shouldn’t be concerned about their teams’ early exits at all.
“I saw,” Jackson said of the losses. “Just watching college basketball all this year, there have already been so many upsets during the regular season. I could just tell how March Madness was going to go, because so many teams were already losing. So, I knew it was going to be a pretty ugly year.”
Rather, Jackson said the main motivator behind his college choice is a more nuanced, but essential, factor: Trust.
“Number one is the trust factor,” Jackson said of his selection criteria. “I just want to be around people I can trust and who are going to push me to become better on and off the court. Two is style of play. Each team plays pretty fast. I think that is where I’m best, when we are playing fast, or in the open court, transition. Three, I kind of already said it in the first one: to be under a coach who is going to push me and not just kiss my butt because I am who I am or they want me so bad. Push me to get better.”
There’s no doubt the head coaches at each of Jackson’s final three schools will push him to continue improving. It’s now up to him to determine where he feels most comfortable and where he can continue to grow, on the court and off, as he has in California at Prolific Prep.
“I really think it was a good decision for me to come (to California) and play (at Prolific Prep), because I’ve met so many people who have been a real influential part of not only basketball but in my life,” Jackson told USA Basketball. “If I never would have come out here, I never would have met these people.”
Most times, going to college is the first time being away from home. So, for me to have some experience and some knowledge on how to handle being on your own by yourself and how to still be responsible, I think it will help me.”