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Bill Self thought Elmarko Jackson would be a McDonald’s All-American

LAWRENCE — Elmarko Jackson became the latest Kansas men’s basketball signing to be recognized as a McDonald’s All-American last week.

Jackson is the Jayhawks’ highest-ranked signing for the 2023 recruiting class out of the high school ranks and ranked 21st overall as a 247Sports Composite five-star point guard. He is also the highest-rated prospect outside the state of Connecticut, as well as being third-best at his position in the nation. And he will be the sole representative of Kansas coach Bill Self’s program for the prestigious All-Star Game in a couple of months in Houston.

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“I wasn’t surprised at all. I think he’s one of the top 24 high school students out there hands down,” Self said on Thursday. “I was hoping our other guys would get consideration and I know they did, it just didn’t work out. But to me, I spoke to Elmarko. We are all happy for him, ecstatic. But it’s a great result. This is the highest achievement you can individually receive at the high school level. So, that’s great and that’s great for his family and everyone.

“But he understands that once you get here, you’ll put your jacket aside and have to scold yourself again. And I’m excited for him, because the big thing about Elmarko as a McDonald’s All-American isn’t that he made it, it’s that he made it.” he made it and has been playing football for only three years.

Last year’s recruiting class saw the Jayhawks sign three high school talents who entered college as McDonald’s All-Americans, in Gradey Dick, MJ Rice and Ernest Udeh Jr. Dick was a regular starter for Kansas as freshman, while Rice and Udeh came off the bench. It’s too early to predict what kind of role Jackson might carve out for himself.

When Jackson signed with the Jayhawks in November, Self mentioned in a statement that he thought Jackson had put himself in a position to be considered a potential McDonald’s All-American. He highlighted Jackson’s playing ability and versatility by being able to play both on point and off the ball. And Self praised assistant coach Norm Roberts for recruiting Jackson.

“The legacy continues,” Kansas said in an Instagram post on his team account following the announcement, in part. “Huge congratulations on our 50th McDonald’s All American Pick, (Jackson)!”

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas athletics at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He is the National Sports Media Association Sportswriter of the Year for the state of Kansas for 2022. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

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