One on one with 5* SF Josh Jackson

Rated as the No. 2 overall prospect in the country, small forward Josh Jackson is considered one of the best future NBA prospects in high school basketball. Though he’s not fully committed to moving forward with the recruiting process yet, he has begun working through an extensive list of schools. Including Duke. We spoke with Jackson at Team USA Camp for the scoop on that and more.

How has camp been going for you so far?

Josh Jackson: It’s going pretty good. Today was really good but yesterday was the roughest day for sure with this altitude and getting adjusted to it. Guys were really tired yesterday and it showed in our games.

Jayson Tatum mentioned something similar and he also mentioned that you guys have been pretty close for a while. Can you elaborate there?

Me and Jayson are practically best friends, really. Me, Jayson and Harry Giles are all great friends. We always hang out with each other whenever we are at similar events, we room together, everything. A lot of scouts and ranking websites all have us pretty much 1, 2 and 3 which is neat because a normal person would look at that and think that maybe these guys don’t like each other, but really we love each actually. I’ve won gold medals with those guys and they are both my brothers.

Jayson also mentioned that you and him discuss recruiting a little bit…

We just talk about who is recruiting ourselves, each other. I’m not saying we are, but it would be possible that we would all go to the same college at this point. If it works out that way, that would be good.

That’s not been something that’s been widely reported.

Good players want to play with good players you know? Jayson is a really good player, I respect him a lot and his game, so why wouldn’t I want to play with him?

With you it seems like there’s been a close to Top 10 list out there for a little while—has there been any changes to it?

Yeah, couple more schools jumped in and a couple dropped out, at this point I haven’t really counted the schools that I’m really interested in at this moment. I would say around 9 or 10, somewhere in there.

Can you update on which programs recently jumped in and which programs kinda dropped out?

Schools that have come in are UNLV and the University of Maryland. With changes in coaching staffs at different schools, like Auburn, with the change in staff there, I was really considering them before because I really liked their assistant coach but he’s apparently not there anymore. So, I don’t really know how I feel about Auburn now.

Can you shed some light on the situation with you and Duke? I’ve seen them mentioned on your list and in various articles as associated with your recruitment.

I mean obviously Duke is a great program, with the legendary coach, a great coach. Obviously I don’t know any kid who wouldn’t want to play in that program. My mom has been in contact with some of the coaching staff from Duke, but I’m not really being heavily recruited by them at the moment but Duke is definitely a place I’m highly interested in.

Is your mom’s contact with Duke more recent, or does it date farther back in your recruiting process?

You would have to ask her, I believe it’s been more recent contact. 

Has she indicated how she feels about the contact so far from Duke? Have they extended a scholarship offer at this point or discussed the possibility of one in the future?

No they haven’t.

With you mentioning how Duke is kinda universally thought of within the basketball community above, what are your personal impression of them based on what you know about the program?

I love Duke. It’s a winning program, and they just won the National Championships after doing it several times obviously, and that’s the most important thing at the end of the day is winning. It doesn’t matter to me how good or bad I played, as long as my team is winning, that’s all that matters to me, I just want to go someplace where we can win games.

So with your recent changes to your school list that you mentioned, has there been any changes to your plan as to which programs you might potentially visit officially, or what your timeline is for a decision?

Not yet. I just came off an unofficial visit to Arizona but outside of that not really. Right now I’m just trying to get done with this SAT and ACT, then I’ll be able to sit down and get really serious about my recruitment and pick a school.

Are you the type of person who needs to take all five official visits before you make your final decision?

Definitely, I believe all kids should take all five of their official visits just to make sure that the place is right for them. You can have a great program, great school and a great coach and you could be a great player but that program may not be right for you.

How are you figuring out what’s the “right fit” for you as a person and player?

Combination of things. Coaches, how much they care about the players. Obviously academics at the school. Players that I would be playing with coming in that year. Things like that. 

A player of your stature in the recruiting process—do you need to wait and see what happens with players leaving for the pros in the spring of your senior year before you decide where to go?

At this moment I really don’t know yet. Possibly but I’m not too sure when it comes to that.

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