Self says Jayhawks’ Jackson will play in NCAA tourney
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas coach Bill Self had a two-word response when asked Monday whether star freshman Josh Jackson would miss NCAA Tournament games for a lingering off-the-court issue involving a member of the women’s basketball team.
The first word began with the letter H. The second word was “No.”
“That answered your question,” Self said.
Self suspended Jackson for the quarterfinal game in the Big 12 Tournament — which Kansas promptly lost to TCU — as punishment for an accumulation of embarrassing incidents. The most recent case was Jackson hitting a parked car and fleeing the scene, but the one that continues to cause the most frustration for the Jayhawks is one involving basketball player McKenzie Calvert.
The incident occurred in early December, when Calvert allegedly threw a drink at men’s basketball player Lagerald Vick at a Lawrence bar. The encounter escalated and Jackson followed her to the parking lot, where he is accused of kicking her car and causing hundreds of dollars in damages.
Jackson was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property and is scheduled to be arraigned next month. In an interview with The Kansas City Star, the woman’s father, Tim Calvert, accused Jackson’s attorney of bribery by saying they “wanted to pay to make it all go away.” Calvert said his family refused the offer.
Jackson has not commented on the allegation, though his attorney issued a brief statement last week in which he accused Tim Calvert of “single-handedly creating a narrative that is not accurate.”
“It is clear that he is frustrated with several parties and with matters unrelated to Josh, yet he continues to manipulate the facts as it relates to a good faith offer of restitution,” attorney Scott Boatman said in the statement. “Mr. Calvert specifically requested that we discuss restitution with his attorney and we complied with his request.”
Boatman said he could not comment further because it is a pending legal case, but that “it is our hope that any further reporting will authenticate statements with fact and not emotion.”
The Jayhawks (28-4) were in position to earn the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament before their collapse against TCU last Thursday. They still wound up with the top seed in the Midwest Region and will face the winner of the First Four game between North Carolina Central and UC Davis. Self made it clear Jackson will be on the floor for that game Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“There is absolutely nothing that I would be remotely concerned about as far as the one thing I heard, as far as unethical things taking place,” he said. “I don’t believe that to be the case. Having read Josh’s attorney statement, I certainly feel stronger about that now than ever.”
Self indicated he knows more about the case than can be discussed in public. He did acknowledge its potential to be a distraction to the team.
“To be real candid with you, I’m mad at the situation, but I’m not necessarily pointing fingers and saying that I’m mad at an individual or a parent or anything like that,” he said, “because here’s the reality of it: You don’t know, I don’t know, (Tim Calvert) doesn’t know what transpired.
“I can’t talk to him, nor would I ever attempt to do so,” Self said. “Nor would I ever talk about a student-athlete from another program — never. We would never do that.”
The Calvert family has accused the school of treating McKenzie Calvert unfairly after the incident, claiming she was barred from Allen Fieldhouse for two days and had her playing time cut. The school has declined to discuss any punishments that may have been handled internally.
“I don’t know what the women’s basketball program has told those parties or educated them to the different things that were going on,” Self said, “If I’m a parent and I haven’t been educated, I can see being very upset. Totally. … Now, if it has been shared and all of the facts are out there and some things are being said, you know, to me that’s disappointing.”