North Carolina forward Justin Jackson has entered the 2017 NBA draft and won’t withdraw his name before next month’s deadline, the school announced today in a press release. Jackson will hire an agent, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility.
Jackson tested the draft waters a year ago but decided to return to UNC for his junior year. That decision ended up paying off, as the 2017 ACC Player of the Year helped lead the Tar Heels to a national championship this spring. With another year of college ball under his belt, the 22-year-old tells Evan Daniels of Scout.com that he feels like the time is right to go pro.
“I think I put myself in a pretty decent position,” Jackson said. “I can obviously still get better in a bunch of different area. I think I put myself in one of the best positions I could be in. I accomplished a lot while I was here winning a national championship and I just felt like ending it that way and moving along. I felt like it was the right time.”
Jackson is currently the 14th-best prospect on DraftExpress’ big board, and No. 27 on Chad Ford’s list at ESPN.com. Ford notes that some scouts are still on the fence about Jackson’s NBA potential, but a consistent three-point shot in 2016/17 brought many scouts around on him as a mid-first-round pick.
After making just 29.7% of his long-distance attempts in his first two college seasons, Jackson shot 37.0% on three-pointers this season, to go along with averages of 18.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.8 APG.