Suns select forward Josh Jackson with 1st-round pick in 2017 NBA Draft

Posted at 4:56 PM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 21:11:39-04

The Phoenix Suns added an intense, defensive-minded competitor to their team Thursday night by selecting Kansas forward Josh Jackson with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-8, 207-pounder was the No. 1 overall collegiate recruit in 2016, and he chose Kansas ahead of offers from Arizona and Michigan State. He averaged 16.3 points and 7.4 points per game for the Jayhawks while shooting 51.3 percent from the field, including 37.8 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game.

"I'm pretty excited to be a Phoenix Sun," Jackson said. "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."

Jackson is also an extremely intense competitor.

"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 refuse to fail, period." Jackson said after he was selected by the Suns.

"I think I bring toughness, versatility, being able to guard 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."

A number of draft experts believe Jackson is the most talented overall player in this year's draft. In its profile of Jackson, says the 20-year-old is one of the draft's most versatile players.

"It is Jackson's defense and overall competitiveness that is one of his most attractive traits," the profile read. "He's a fiery guy who has been a two-way player his entire career, and showed the ability to guard anywhere from 1 through 4 in college."

Jackson has had some off-court troubles, however. In February, he was charged with criminal damage for allegedly kicking a female basketball player's car in December. In March, court documents revealed Jackson allegedly threatened to "beat" her. Jackson was later suspended for a Big 12 Tournament game "as punishment for an accumulation of embarrassing incidents," according to ESPN.

"I don't think it really represents who I am," Jackson said Thursday night. "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 ... But I have owned up to the mistake I made and I accept the responsibility of it from day one."