UNC standout Justin Jackson will enter the NBA draft and sign with an agent. He will forgo his senior year of college.
The news was announced Thursday in a release posted on GoHeels.com, the University of North Carolina’s official athletics website. Jackson, the 6-foot-8 junior forward from Tomball, Texas, was named ACC Player of the Year and helped lead his team to the NCAA championship earlier this month.
He is expected to join Duke’s Jayson Tatum and N.C. State’s Dennis Smith Jr. as top-15 draft picks, according to Draft Express.
Last year, after his sophomore season, Jackson took advantage of the new NCAA and NBA rule allowing players to declare for the draft, go through the NBA Draft Combine and return to school if they don’t sign with an agent.
“I thank God, my coaches and teammates and the University of North Carolina for giving me this extraordinary opportunity,” Jackson said in Thursday’s news release. “My family and I discussed my decision with Coach Williams and we agree that declaring for the NBA Draft is best for my career. I wouldn’t trade anything the last three years as a Tar Heel, especially getting the chance to win a national championship, which was unbelievable.”
Coach Roy Williams was supportive of the decision, praising both Jackson’s attitude and play.
“We’re excited for Justin and proud of the way he conducted himself each day in leading our team to a national championship,” Williams said.
Jackson led the Tar Heels in scoring this year at 18.3 points per game. He set the UNC single-season record with 105 three-pointers, averaged a career-high 4.7 rebounds and was second on the team in assists with 113.
He scored 731 points, second most in Williams’ 14 seasons as UNC’s head coach and tied for the fifth most in any season by a Tar Heel.