NBA Draft Q&A with Josh Jackson

Shay Wildeboor, Editor
Jayhawk Slant
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After being selected with the 4th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Josh Jackson, the 6-foot-8, 200-pound shooting guard from Detroit, Mich., conducted his first interview shortly thereafter.

Jackson, the No. 1 ranked player in the 2016 class, touched on a number of topics, including his relationship with Kansas head coach Bill Self.

JOSH JACKSON: I'm pretty excited to be a Phoenix Sun. I know they're a pretty young team. I think that's really special, though, because coming in I think we can learn a lot together, and over the years we can be something really special and just being able to grow together, I think that'll make our team chemistry a lot better.I think I bring toughness, versatility, being able to guard 1 through 4 on the defensive end and also being able to play 1 through 4 on the offensive end, and as I watch today's NBA basketball, versatility is probably the most important thing in this league today. I think it'll be really special.

Q. Josh, your mother played college basketball at the University of Texas El Paso. Is there anything lesson you learned from basketball from your mother that you'll take to the NBA?

JOSH JACKSON: Well, you know, my mom has taught me so much, on and off the court. She's taught me a few moves that I still use to this day and just being such a competitor, I think I really got my competitive spirit from her. She was in college, high school, middle school playing, she was the exact same way. She hated to lose. And I think that's the most special thing about me. I get it from her.

Q. And what quality of your game makes you, in your opinion, the best player in this draft?

JOSH JACKSON: I think my versatility, just my competitive spirit. I don't think the other guys in this draft really care as much as I do. I don't think they play as hard as I do, period. I think that's what really makes me special. I refuse to fail, period.

Q. Josh, through this process, it seemed like the Suns had locked in on you and you guys had locked in on the Suns. What was it about the Suns' situation that made you comfortable to maybe not work out with some other teams?

JOSH JACKSON: Well, the only team I didn't work out for at the top of the draft was the Celtics, and that was due to scheduling. I was excited to be on any team at the top of the draft to be honest, whether it was Philly, Boston, LA. I felt like the type of player that I am, I could fit anywhere. But when I look at Phoenix and I see that they are so young and kind of need a 3, somebody to come in and play that 3 spot, and I feel like that's my favorite position to play. That's where I'm the most comfortable. I automatically just get excited when I see stuff like that.

Q. You said your mom played in El Paso, kind of a similar climate to Phoenix. Did mom tell you the importance of staying hydrated? (Laughter).

JOSH JACKSON: Yeah, she has told me the importance of staying hydrated. She tries to get me to drink a lot of water, more than I think I should, to be honest.

Q. Unfortunately one of the occupation at hazards out there is kidney stones and others, so you really do have to stay hydrated.

JOSH JACKSON: Yeah, I'm going to keep that in mind. I'm going to try to stay away from the kidney stones.

Q. Watching you on the recruiting trail over the years, talking with Bill (Self) about your competitive spirit. I was wondering if you feel more gratitude for being selected or perhaps a competitive edge that you weren't picked higher because there were plenty of talent evaluators that rated you as the best prospect in this class.

JOSH JACKSON: Well, yeah, I feel a little bit of both sides of what you said. If you ask me, of course I'm going to say I'm the best player in this draft, but if you ask those other guys, they're going to say the same thing about themselves, I'm sure. But just I love competition, and I love proving people wrong. I've been drafted to Phoenix, and I'm going to go there and I'm going to make the best of it. I'm going to be the best player I can be. And those teams who didn't draft me, one day they will be sorry.

Q. For those that might follow college basketball, casually obviously I know you've spoken on this many times, but just here on draft night, some clarification if there might be any character concerns considering the issue that you had off the court at Kansas, if you can kind of speak to that and why that might not necessarily represent who you are as a person off the floor.

JOSH JACKSON: I don't think it really represents who I am. You know, I made a mistake that day. I did. I admitted to it from day one when it was brought up. I think the whole situation was really blown out of proportion, just because I am who I am. Reporters want to make a story and get themselves a name. But everyone who was close to the situation and everyone who I've talked to about it, they know exactly what happened that day. There was nothing that -- it wasn't what it was made out to be. It wasn't as bad as everybody made it out to be. But I have owned up to the mistake I made and I accept the responsibility for it from day one.

Q. Now that you're officially in the NBA, is there anybody on your list that you're just dying to play against?

JOSH JACKSON: Well, Draymond Green, of course. I've been knowing him for a long time now. And I've watched him grow since he was in high school and playing at Michigan State. He's kind of exactly how I am in terms of being competitive and a little bit of trash talking, so I'm really excited to get out there and be able to play against him. Obviously there are a lot of great players in this league, LeBron James, one of the best players in the world, Kevin Durant. I really want to get out there and see where I stack up against some of the best players in the world.

Q. I saw that you had Coach Self at your table tonight. Can you speak on what he's meant to you in this past year kind of having him in your life?

JOSH JACKSON: Well, through the recruiting process, Coach Self has always been amazing. My time at Kansas, he made amazing for me. Before I even decided to go to Kansas, I always felt that he cared about me more than a basketball player. He cared about me as a man. He wanted me to be the best man that I could be. That was one of the biggest reasons I chose to go to Kansas. It speaks to his character today, coming out and being able to support me and just being here for me. It shows that he really cares.

Q. Did he have any message for you after you were selected or anything like that?

JOSH JACKSON: I haven't talked to him since I've been selected, but I'm sure I will.

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