🏀 Kansas Men’s Basketball Adds Three in Early Signing Period

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Three guards – Elmarko Jackson (Marlton, New Jersey), Chris Johnson (Fort Bend, Texas) and Jamari McDowell (Manvel, Texas) – have signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball at Kansas, KU head coach Bill Self announced Wednesday. The three will be freshmen at KU for the 2023-24 season.

The Kansas class ranks 10th nationally according to 247sports.com.

“I feel like all three together give us probably about as good a trio that we have signed on the perimeter since maybe a Frank (Mason), Wayne Selden, Brannen Greene or a Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Micah Downs. To me these three could fit in the same type of category as far as what their potential will be at KU,” Self said.

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Known for his leadership skills, Jackson is a strong combo guard who committed to Kansas in October. Jackson is known for explosiveness on the court. He has good size, speed and terrific play-making ability. He is also a tough defender who can guard multiple positions and is explosive attacking the paint.

Jackson began his prep career at St. Augustine Prep in Richland, New Jersey. He then transferred to Academy of the New Church in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. He earned all-state and all-league honors in 2021-22 where he averaged 17.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Jackson will be playing his senior campaign at South Kent School in Connecticut.

Jackson is ranked No. 18 by 247Sports and No. 28 by ESPN100. He chose Kansas over Texas, Villanova, Miami, Notre Dame and others.

Bill Self on Jackson – “People may not know he’s only played organized basketball for three years and his skill level is well beyond his experience. He’s a 6’3” athlete that can make plays with the ball and can play above the rim. He is extremely explosive and a guy that has been well drilled, well taught in a short amount of time to put him in a position to potentially be a McDonald’s All American. We’re so excited to have him in camp and he’ll be one of those versatile guards that can play the point, but also can play anywhere off the ball as well. Coach (Norm) Roberts did a great job recruiting Elmarko and his family and we feel he will be an immediate impact player for us and potentially one of the best guards we’ve had in our program.”

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Johnson committed to Kansas in August. He is an explosive scorer who has deep range. He is physical, plays with an edge, and can score a variety of ways, and is a solid defender.

Johnson transferred to Montverde Academy in Florida for his senior season after earning All-Greater Houston honors at Elkin High School in Texas. He averaged 19.5 points, 5.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds for Elkin in 2021-22, where the team went 30-6.

Johnson played AAU basketball for the Houston Defenders along with fellow signee Jamari McDowell. Johnson is ranked No. 24 by ESPN100. He chose Kansas over Arkansas, Texas A&M, Texas, Auburn, TCU, Houston and others.

Bill Self on Johnson – “Chris is a very good high school player out of Houston who transferred his senior year to be at Montverde. In the short amount of time he’s been there, we understand his game has just grown tremendously. He was MVP of the big preseason tournament out in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago with many of the top high school prospects in America participating. He’s also a guy that can play point guard. He’s 6’4” and much like Elmarko, very versatile, can score, get his own shot but at the same time be a distributor. The thing that people rave about with him is that he could be an elite defender, an elite collegiate defender. Coach (Jeremy) Case did a great job recruiting Chris and his family and he and Elmarko and Jamari will all complement each other so well because they’re all similar but they’re so different because of their versatility.”

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McDowell plays for Chris Wilson at Manvel High School in Manvel, Texas, a suburb of Houston. He can play all three perimeter positions. He has size and versatility on the perimeter, is athletic with a high motor. Some media outlets wrote McDowell will remind KU fans of Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji from the 2022 NCAA National Championship team. McDowell orally committed to Kansas in September.

Last season Manvel posted a 19-5 record and McDowell averaged 21.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 4.5 steals per game.

McDowell played AAU basketball for the Houston Defenders along with fellow signee Chris Johnson. McDowell is ranked No. 42 by 247Sports. He chose Kansas over Texas A&M, Xavier and Wake Forest among others.

Bill Self on McDowell – “Jamari is the best shooter of the three. He can make a shot with range. He’s got point guard skills and actually plays point guard for his respective high school team. At 6’4”, he’s got great size for his skillset and is a guy that I kind of see like as an Ochai (Agbaji) that you can throw lobs to and he’s a terrific three-point shooter. Coach Case recruited Jamari and his family as well.”

Kansas Men’s Basketball 2022-23 Signees
Elmarko Jackson – G, 6-3, 185, Marlton, New Jersey (South Kent School [Conn.])
Chris Johnson – G, 6-4, 180, Fort Bend, Texas (Montverde Academy [Fla.])
Jamari McDowell – G, 6-4, 180, Manvel, Texas (Manvel High School)