With the NBA Draft Combine over, and the lottery order decided, it’s natural to start to wonder when we’ll know Justin Jackson’s draft decision.
He declared for the draft without an agent, so he’s still eligible to play his sophomore season for Maryland basketball, but the clock is running down for him to withdraw his name. Jackson has until May 24 to decide whether he’ll take his chances in the draft, or try to improve his stock at the college level.
Jackson’s getting mixed reviews on where he’d get selected this year, which could draw his decision process out. However, this isn’t a choice to be taken lightly with guaranteed money potentially on the table.
Though Jackson still isn’t listed on DraftExpress’ most recent mock draft, they have moved him up to No. 31 on their 2017 Big Board. The Ringer also has Jackson as the No. 27 pick in their latest mock draft.
So Jackson has a big decision on his hands. His perceived range is between No. 25 and No. 45. If he’s hearing more teams say he’ll go earlier, he might be inclined to take his chances this year.
Wide consensus among draft analysts, though, is Jackson would be better served by spending another season in college. He had a strong freshman season, finishing second on the Terps in scoring and first in rebounds while starting somewhat out of position at power forward. Jackson measured just 6’7 in shoes — and 6’5.75 without them — at the combine and projects as a small forward at the next level. If he returns to Maryland, he’d have an opportunity to play significantly more minutes at his natural position.
Last year, Melo Trimble took until the final day to announce his decision to come back for his junior season, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Jackson did the same. He’s already a projected first round pick in next year’s draft, and another strong season showcasing his skills could push him further up draft boards.
Jackson’s versatility as a defender already entices scouts, and he’d have an even larger role in Maryland’s offense next year, should he return. He has until 5 p.m. on May 24 to decide, and it may take the entire week for us to learn his choice.