Hype not both­er­ing state’s top fresh­man

Jack­son is ready to take on high school aca­demics, hoops

The Detroit News - - Sports - BY TOM MARKOWSKI

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.

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