Top hoops prospect Josh Jackson chooses Kansas

Matt Charboneau, and David Goricki
The Detroit News


Josh Jackson, the No. 1 basketball recruit in the nation, did what many had come to expect in recent weeks when he announced on Monday that he would attend Kansas next season.

The Detroit native announced on Twitter that he had chosen the Jayhawks over Michigan State and Arizona.

Jackson, a 6-foot-7 wing who played the last two seasons at Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., led Detroit Consortium to a state championship as a sophomore before transferring to play at the prep school.

He narrowed his choices to Michigan State, Kansas and Arizona in late February and said at the McDonald’s All-American game two weeks ago that he had made his decision but was waiting to make his announcement so that family and friends could join him.

Even without Jackson, Michigan State has the No. 3 rated recruiting class in the country, led by five-stars Miles Bridges and Joshua Langford. Bridges is a 6-6 forward from Flint that played the last two seasons at Huntington (W. Va.) Prep while Langford is a 6-5 guard from Madison (Ala.) Academy.

Rounding out the class are a pair of four-stars – 6-2 guard Cassius Winston of U-D Jesuit and 6-8 forward Nick Ward of Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln. Winston was named Michigan’s Mr. Basketball.

Now that Jackson has made his choice, the focus for Michigan State lands squarely on the future of forward Deyonta Davis, who is deciding whether or not to return for his sophomore season.

Davis averaged 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds as a freshman and is projected by some to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. He has until May 25 to decide whether or not to return but is expected to make his decision before then.

Jackson, who has a 6-foot-10 wingspan and is an outstanding defender, showed his ability in the McDonald’s game by scoring from the perimeter, taking the ball to the basket, finding his teammates for open shots and making it hard for the opponent with his defensive skills.

Jackson narrowed his choice to Kansas, Arizona and MSU, taking a visit to East Lansing in early March, sitting in on game-planning, then a practice before watching the Spartans defeat Ohio State on Senior Day.

While driving back to the home of his friend, Miss Basketball award winner Kysre Gondrezick with her mother after the MSU game, Jackson said: “It was real good seeing them practice and prepare for the game the day before, watching the film session and then seeing how they went out and executed the game plan.”

So, Jackson left East Lansing impressed. After all, he was an MSU fan.

“I grew up a Michigan State fan,” Jackson said. “I love Coach Izzo and the way he coaches. I love the style of play they play with … fast.”

When asked if his relationship with Gondrezick would play a role in his decision — she signed with Michigan and her older sister Kalabrya plays at MSU — he replied: “I’m not sure if it will affect my decision, but her and I are very, very close,” Jackson said.

Jackson and Gondrezick will both be traveling to New York later this week to compete in their respective Jordan Brand Classic All-American games at the Barclays Center.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @DavidGoricki