Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson: The Suns’ Rising Star

By Kid Kelly

Josh Jackson had an interesting childhood growing up but like professional athletes, it involved the sport he loved: basketball. His mother, Apple Jones was a naval officer but before that an impressive ball player herself at the University of at Texas El Paso. With encouragement from his mother, Jackson became an avid basketball star that unfortunately led to his academics being overlooked. In eighth grade, he was held back due to how much the sport had enveloped his life. Starting out his high school career in Michigan at Consortium College Prep, Jackson 17 points and 6 rebounds per game before exploding in his sophomore year with 28 points and 15 rebounds. When he moved to California, he only got better and in his junior season he was averaging 31.2 points per game before finishing his high school career with 26.9 points and 13.1 rebounds for his senior year. Unsurprisingly, he was invited to play in the McDonald’s All-American game where he was awarded as one of the MVP’s after scoring 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. This performance coupled with his outstanding high school career only cemented his five-star draft rating heading into college.

Josh Jackson

Photo Credit: CBS Sports

In April, Josh Jackson surprised everyone by committing to the University of Kansas over Michigan State. His freshman season was interested because they switched him to a power forward position over his typical shooting guard but he still played well nonetheless. By the end of the year he was averaging 16.3 points, 1.7 steals, 3 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and 51.3% field goal percentage. Unfortunately, his free-throw percentage was quite low and act 56.6% it was a little worrisome. Nevertheless, his poor ability to shoot at the line wasn’t enough to stop Jackson from being named All-Big 12 First Team, Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and Second Team All-American that year. It came as no surprise when the young freshman decided to enter the 2017 Draft that year and hire B.J. Armstrong, a former Chicago Bulls player, as his agent.

Josh Jackson

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There was a bit of drama behind the scenes with Josh Jackson during the 2017 NBA Draft. He was supposedly meant to work out with the Celtics but cancelled at the last-minute with no intention of rescheduling. While general manager of the Boston team claimed that the cancellation had no effect on their decision to not draft Jackson, there were murmurings that the Phoenix Suns somehow colluded to diminish Jackson’s draft value with the Celtics. All sides denied this claim but nevertheless, he was chosen fourth in the NBA Draft by the Suns to be their new star player during a rebuilding season. His performance in the Summer League cemented the decision to take the young player after he averaged 17.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals by the end of the summer. Jackson’s performance led to him being named All-Summer First Team alongside fellow standout rookie, Lonzo Ball.

Josh Jackson

Photo Credit: SB Nation

Of course, Josh Jackson’s career hasn’t been without its bumps, with the rookie getting into a bit of legal trouble last February. Allegedly part of a vandalism incident against his teammate’s ex-girlfriend, where he and LaGerald Vick destroyed her car. He apologized almost immediately but still faced consequences in court where he agreed to pay for all damages, attend anger management counseling, complete community service, abstain form alcohol along with drugs, and write letters of apologies to everyone involved. In the summer he announced that his counseling was almost complete, and again apologized saying he had learned from the incident. Here’s hoping that’s true because with such a promising career ahead of him, it wouldn’t be worth throwing away over another petty incident like the one he was initially involved in.

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