TULSA, Okla. — One day before top-seeded Kansas opens NCAA Tournament play, court officials released an affidavit that said freshman star Josh Jackson threatened to “beat” a women’s basketball player during a confrontation in December.
Douglas County District Court officials released the affidavit to The Lawrence Journal-World detailing statements from McKenzie Calvert and two other Kansas women’s basketball players who witnessed the argument Dec. 9 outside a bar in Lawrence, Kansas. The affidavit was filed by police to justify a court summons Jackson was served March 7; he is charged with misdemeanor criminal damage.
The release was the latest in a series of embarrassing moments this season for both Kansas and its talented freshman — who was suspended for last week’s quarterfinal loss to TCU as punishment for an accumulation of incidents.
Despite the latest news stemming from the December incident, Kansas coach Bill Self remained adamant that Jackson would play in Friday’s opener against UC Davis.
“(Jackson) is a tough-minded individual; I think he’s focused,” Self said. “And certainly his role or playing time or whatnot, whatever, will only be dictated by what happens between the lines. It won’t be dictated by anything else.”
Jackson said he had extra motivation to perform well in the NCAA Tournament because of his suspension.
“What I learned from it is we all make mistakes,” he said. “Kids. You make one mistake, and the only thing you do is don’t make it again.”
The incident began inside the bar when Calvert threw a drink at her ex-boyfriend, Lagerald Vick, another Kansas player. She said she was upset because Vick attended the party with his new girlfriend.
Calvert told police Jackson followed her to her car and “was yelling for her to get out of the car and that he would beat her ass,” the affidavit says. Jackson is scheduled to appear in court April 12. His attorney did not return a call Thursday from The Associated Press.
The affidavit said the bumper, grille, fender, windshield, left tail lamp assembly and driver’s side front door were all damaged, with a total repair cost of about $3,150. Witnesses reported Jackson only damaging the door and tail light, with an estimated damage of $1,127, and District Attorney Charles Branson said Jackson was not charged with felony criminal damage because it couldn’t be proved that the player caused all the damage.
Jackson apologized in a statement shortly after he was arrested and “offered to pay for any damage that I directly caused.”
During the incident, Kansas women’s basketball player Caelynn Manning-Allen told police she tried to restrain Jackson by grabbing his arms and he kicked Calvert’s car before she was able to get him away from the vehicle. Another player, Eboni Watts, said she witnessed Jackson kick Calvert’s driver’s door twice and kick the tail light.
According to the affidavit, Self joined Jackson at McCarthy Hall, where the men’s basketball team lives, as he was interviewed by police about 5:45 a.m. the day of the confrontation.
While saying Jackson has accepted responsibility for the incident, Self said the Jayhawks have “rallied around Josh.”
“It’s not easy to have your name across the ticker each and every day about something when somebody keeps bringing up an additional thing or two when we already know this took place a long … quite a while ago,” Self said. “I don’t think it should be motivation, but I also don’t think it should be an excuse and a distraction.”
The Jayhawks have been dogged by a number of off-the-court problems this season. The most serious is an alleged sexual assault at McCarthy Hall. No suspects have been identified in connection with the incident the night of Dec. 17, though five players are listed as witnesses.
Forward Carlton Bragg also was charged with possession in a drug case and was briefly suspended before being granted diversion. Vick was also accused of hitting a female student two years ago, but the school investigated and recommended school probation.
And hours after the Jayhawks wrapped up the Big 12 regular-season title, junior guard Devonte Graham was arrested for failing to appear in court. Graham had been ticketed for driving with expired license plates, and said that the car belonged to an ex-teammate and he thought the ticket had been paid.