Justin Jackson is currently at the NBA Draft Combine, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday. If you ask ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and Fran Fraschilla, the Maryland prospect’s draft journey probably won’t go further than that.
Goodman is as plugged in as just about anyone in this arena. The sources he’s talking to had a uniform opinion on what Jackson should do, he said Tuesday on a conference call:
I talked to like three NBA guys yesterday about him actually, and they all said he should definitely come back, and he could play his way in a year into — where now they felt like his range is — tell me if you’ve heard the same — like 25 to 45," he said. "He could sneak into the end of the first round maybe, but if he comes back, he could solidify himself with a really good year next year into being a first-round pick.
And here are his comments from a piece published Wednesday on ESPN:
The "other" Justin Jackson is extremely intriguing to the NBA folks. He's 6-foot-7, athletic and can shoot it. Jackson averaged 10.5 PPG and 6.0 RPG and shot 44 percent from deep. "He's a guy who can go back to school and become firmly entrenched as a first-rounder next year."
Range: This varies depending on whom you talk to. Some feel he can slip into the end of the first round, but most feel as though he's in the 40 range.
NBA says: Back to school
Fraschilla, a former college head coach who works as a commentator for ESPN, thinks he’ll be back at Maryland by the June 12 deadline for players to return to school:
I have a sense that he’s not going to stay in this draft. But the thing that I think he needs desperately is to go back to school, be a little more athletic, work on his lateral quickness, and become more of an NBA wing player. So that would be my two cents, just based on what I’ve seen, not only on tape, but also what I’ve seen during his days in AAU and high school player.
This isn’t a definitive thing — Jackson could still turn more heads at the rest of the combine and reverse the narrative present here. But as it stands now, Jackson’s most likely destination for the 2017-18 season appears to be College Park.
In other news
DJ Durkin had glowing things to say about Will Likely, and went heavy on recruiting at a Maryland journalism school event.
If they want, college football recruits can now sign their National Letters of Intent during a 72-hour window in December instead of waiting until February.
Plus, yesterday marked six years at Maryland for men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon.
This piece was updated after publication to add Goodman’s comments from his own ESPN article.