USA Basketball: One-on-One with five-star SF Josh Jackson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Josh Jackson, a senior at Napa (Calif.) Prolific, sat down with Scout to discuss his USA Basketball experience, what schools are on his list and who he plans to visit in the near future.

Evan Daniels: You are an experienced veteran when it comes to USA Basketball now, what’s this experience like? 

Josh Jackson: It’s a great experience. Come in here and maybe have a flashback when I was the young guy and I was here watching Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones and coach [Don] Showalter talking about how those guys having three Gold Medals and that’s when I had zero. Now I’m in their position. They helped me out a lot and gave me advice. Now I’m in the same position as them and I can do that for these guys.

Seems like you were hunting your jump shot today, is that something you’ve been working on?

I’ve been working on it a little bit. My ball handling too. Those are probably the biggest two things I need to work on.

In your eyes, what are your strengths? What makes you standout?

The things that separate me from everybody is, one my competitiveness and two how hard I play. I don’t think anybody in the country plays as hard as me and I don’t think anybody in the country hates to lose more than me.

Recruiting wise, how is that whole process going for you?

It’s going pretty good. I’m kind of at a standstill right now, trying to decide between schools. I have a couple schools that I really, really, really like and then a couple that I also really, really like. It’s kind of hard. I’m just thinking about this being one of the most important decisions of my life and I just want to make sure I make the right choice.

You took an unofficial visit to Arizona, how was that trip?

It was real nice. The campus was real nice. The weather was great. I love the hot weather, coming from Michigan where it snows all the time. Obviously I have a great relationship with coach Miller with him coaching me at U19. I think he’s a great coach and I just really like Arizona.

What are the other schools involved?

Michigan State, Kansas, Maryland and UCLA.

Have you set up any visits?

I’m definitely going to take two this month, but I’m not sure when. The two I’m going to visit are Arizona and Kansas.

What sticks out to you about Kansas?

They are really known for having a great history. I watch Kansas year in and year out. Coach Self, I think he’s a good coach and I just love what he does with his guys year in and year out. He’s always helping guys get into the league. Putting them to the best position possible for them to succeed. I just like their style of play. They are a real fast paced team and I feel like that’s where I’m at my best.

When I spoke to Miles Bridges about his commitment to MSU, he told me when Cassius Winston opted to go to MSU, it made him change his mind and go to MSU. I then asked him specifically about you and he said he has similar relationship with you. Does Bridges going there factors in at all?

It definitely factors in. Him and Cassius Winston, I’ve been knowing those guys since I was about nine years old. I have a real good relationship with him. Then a couple of guys that are already on Michigan State’s team, most of them are from Michigan, so I know them as well. The campus is less than an hour from my house. I know a lot of people at Michigan State. I like the coaching staff and I love coach [Tom] Izzo, as a coach. I think he’s one of the best college coaches there is right now.

Have you taken any unofficials to Michigan State?

I took a few actually. Just going to football games and a couple of basketball games.

You took a visit to Maryland right before the Elite 24, how was that?

I didn’t expect the campus to be as nice as it was. Out of all of the schools I’ve visited so far Maryland probably has the nicest campus I’ve seen. I love their gym too. They probably have the best gym.

Then with UCLA, how did they wind up on your list and what do you like about them?

“Just their loyalty to me. They always come to my game and my practices. They let me know how much they want me. I really like UCLA as well.”

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