If you're not familiar with Josh Jackson, he's a 6'7" shooting guard from Detroit that is ranked as the best player in the class of 2016 by the 247 Composite. Jerry Meyer called Jackson the best shooting guard he's ever scouted. He's been electrifying all spring and summer for his 1 Nation AAU team, and participated in the FIBA U19 World Championship (alongside incoming freshman Jalen Brunson). Simply put, he's the real deal.
Up until now, Jackson has been mostly recruited by the blue bloods - Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State, UCLA, etc., with Maryland thrown in for good mix (likely due to the Under Armour connection). But last night at the Big Strick Classic in New York City, Jackson listed Villanova when asked who he was still looking at.
When asked what schools were still in the running, Jackson replied with, "Villanova, Arizona, Maryland, Michigan State, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UNLV and UCLA."
To land the prized recruit, the team of his choice must have: "A great coach and a great environment. I want to play with great teammates and a coach that will push me and not kiss my butt."
That is straight from Jackson's mouth - and it's a big deal. It's worth noting that Jackson has had a very strange recruitment to date - with most of the publicity coming from his mother, Apples Jones. (For what it's worth, Apples Jones did NOT list Villanova when asked on Friday.)
Things began when Jones was adamant that Jackson would never transfer to a prep school (he now plays at Prolific Prep, a new basketball academy in California). Last summer, Jackson's mother claimed he wasn't being recruited by anybody. In March, Jackson cut his list to 9 schools - but that list has had some turnover since. In April, rumors started up that Jackson might skip college to play overseas - those have been fiercely denied by the Jackson camp.
Even in the crazy world of college recruiting, that's a more eventful timeline than most. Back to the topic at hand though - this is the first time Jackson has publicly mentioned Villanova among the schools he's considering. Regardless of how late in the game it is it's nice to see Villanova mentioned, but you might want to hold off the celebrations until Jackson sets up a visit. Jackson will visit Maryland (unofficially), Arizona and Kansas (both officially) in the coming weeks and plans to take all of his official visits before deciding.
In any case, this speaks volumes to the job Jay Wright has done in recent seasons turning the Wildcats back in to a top ten outfit. Jackson would be a major coup for Villanova and would continue the recent elite trend of prospects donning the 'Nova blue and white.
Enjoy these highlights, and dream with me!