Justin Jackson is officially returning to Maryland basketball for his sophomore season, deciding not to keep his name in the NBA Draft, the school announced Wednesday.
Jon Rothstein reported Tuesday morning that Jackson was “expected” to return to the Terps, but following his workout with the Raptors Tuesday, Jackson told reporters he hadn’t made a definitive choice yet. according to Blake Murphy of Raptor’s Republic.
That choice is now clear.
Jackson entered the draft without hiring an agent last month; as a result, he received an invite to the combine and worked out with several teams. His 7’3 wingspan on a 6’7 frame, as well as his proficiency from three-point range, made an impression on scouts, but ultimately, he didn’t feel ready to leave.
Several draft gurus said that NBA scouts were impressed by him, and that he might have had a chance to sneak into the first round. But most teams think he’ll simply be a better prospect in 2018, so he’ll come back to further improve his game.
Jackson averaged 10.5 points and six rebounds per game in his first year with the Terps. With Melo Trimble in the draft for good, the Toronto native figures to be one of Maryland’s most important players next season, along with fellow rising sophomores Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan. Jackson is the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder, so it’s reasonable to expect a step forward from him.
His sophomore season at Maryland would likely be his last, as he’s been highly regarded as a 2018 NBA prospect for some time now. He’ll probably subject Terps fans to similar uncertainties at this time next year, but he knows what he has to do between now and then.
This article was originally published Tuesday afternoon when Rothstein announced Jackson was “expected” to return. It has been updated upon the official announcement.