Having spoiled fans in Chapel Hill for three years with his talents on the basketball court, UNC junior wing Justin Jackson announced Thursday he will forego his senior season and enter this June’s NBA Draft.
Jackson will also hire an agent, which means he can not reverse his decision.
The 6-foot-8 native of Tomball, Texas was named a consensus First Team All-American, the ACC Player of the Year and was UNC’s leading scorer this season, at 18.3 points per game.
His 105 three-pointers were the most any Tar Heel has ever made in a single season, while his 731 total points tied for fifth in the program’s single season record books.
UNC played in back-to-back national championship games with Jackson as a key starter, including this season’s title win over Gonzaga. With 239 career points in the NCAA Tournament, he ranks second in school history behind only Tyler Hansbrough.
“I thank God, my coaches and teammates and the University of North Carolina for giving me this extraordinary opportunity,” Jackson said, in a statement released by the university. “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,” he added. “I feel I made a good decision last year to come back for my junior year. That has put me in a much better position as a basketball player and a person. I’m proud to know I will always be a Tar Heel.”
Most NBA Draft projections have Jackson going somewhere in the middle of the first round, a huge jump from where he would have gone had he decided to leave school earlier.
Throughout this season, he worked on gaining muscle mass while improving both his perimeter defense and his three-point shot.
The results were obvious.
“Justin has improved his draft position immensely this year and it’s a credit to him and the hard work he put into making himself a great player,” head coach Roy Williams said. “We are so pleased that he is able to take this step and look forward to watching him play for many years at the next level.”