Hype not bothering state’s top freshman
Jackson is ready to take on high school academics, hoops
Detroit — Before Josh Jackson stepped into the spotlight as the state’s top freshman, he had to take a step back.
Jackson originally was a member of the Class of 2015, but his mother and stepfather, Shenita and C.J. Jones, decided, after Jackson’s eighth grade year at Levy Middle School in Southfield, to hold their son back a year. They enrolled Jackson at Voyager Middle School to have him repeat the eighth grade.
“Academics is one of the mainstays of what we try to teach in our home,” C.J. Jones said. “He was playing a lot of basketball and it was interfering with his grades.
“We didn’t want him to be another statistic. We try to give him leeway, to handle responsibilities.”
Jackson has done that, making honor roll in his last card marking at Detroit Consortium.
Now, he can start living up to the hype on the court, too.
Hoop Scoop, a national recruiting service, ranks Jack- son, a 6-foot-6 forward, No. 2 in the Class of 2016.
“I started hanging around the team before last season and I really liked it,” said Jackson, who along with other players around the state, began practice Monday. “I heard they had a good team here (Consortium lost in a Class C regional final last season).
“I used to scrimmage with them, and it was hard. Then I started to compete. What I did then prepared me for this year.”
Jackson began playing AAU basketball with The Family at age 10 and has been with them since. Jackson credits Speedy Walker and the other coaches for much of his development.
“When I was younger, I wasn’t the best player; I wasn’t even that good,” said Jackson, who received his first scholarship offer from Michigan State. “But (Walker) saw something in me. He wanted me to be a leader. I said, ‘Why me? I’m not that good.’ He just believed in me.”
Consortium coach Al Anderson said he isn’t so much impressed with Jackson’s abilities, but it is his maturity and approach that stand out.
“With all kinds of people telling him how good he is, he doesn’t get carried away with that,” Anderson said. “He’s mature. Being held back a year helped. He wasn’t doing what his mother wanted of him.”
David Guralnick/Detroit News Detroit Consortium freshman Josh Jackson has impressed his coaches with his maturity.