Kansas Jayhawks basketball freshman Elmarko Jackson shuts down transfer portal rumors

The KU freshman confirmed he will return to Lawrence next season.
Kansas v Texas Tech
Kansas v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

Last season, Kansas basketball brought in four highly touted freshmen, three of whom were named McDonald's High School All-Americans. None of those players returned for the following season, with three entering the transfer portal and one departing for the NBA.

The NIL era has introduced new opportunities for student-athletes. Transferring out of schools has become more prevalent than ever, with more than 1,000 players entering the portal last offseason. Low retention rates are a significant issue in college basketball, especially at premier programs like Kansas.

All of the aforementioned factors have led some Jayhawk fans to believe Elmarko Jackson, former McDonald's All-American and current Kansas freshman, would go portaling once the season concludes. The 6-foot-3 guard is averaging 4.2 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 rebounds in his inaugural campaign in Lawrence.

However, Jackson shot down those rumors in an interview with The Kansas City Star yesterday. When asked if he has ever considered leaving Kansas to attend a new school, he immediately said: “Nah, not at all. Nah, not at all.” When asked about his future plans, he continued to reaffirm his loyalty to KU.

"“I came in with the (mindset of) whatever happens, happens. This program under coach Self has a great history of developing players and teaching them the fundamentals. I feel that’s what I need... I’m not really looking at the NBA right now. I’m just focused on Kansas. I’m here at Kansas right now. So I’m just focused on Kansas and contributing to winning.”"

Elmarko Jackson

After beginning the season as a full-time starter, Jackson was sent to the second unit after 15 games. Despite showing flashes, he struggled to get comfortable and did not have the freshman year he hoped for.

There have been instances where Jackson made freshman mistakes, such as careless turnovers or getting into foul trouble early. There are also moments that make fans realize how much potential he has — look no further than this monster coast-to-coast dunk in the Big 12 Tournament last week.

Returning Jackson would be huge for Kansas, a team that will lose Kevin McCullar and Nick Timberlake to graduation. Australian freshman Johnny Furphy has also been rumored to entering the NBA Draft. Another year at KU should allow Jackson to grow his confidence and bud into the star player Coach Self expected him to be when he initially recruited him.

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