The junior wing declared for the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday, choosing to forgo his final year of eligibility. This is a change from last year when he tested the waters at the NBA Combine before refining his game in the offseason to continue with North Carolina.
His decision is a smart one. After scouts told him to improve his shooting and consistency following last year’s combine, he hit 105 three-pointers to set a UNC single-season record and scored 18.3 points per game — the highest mark by a Tar Heel since Tyler Hansbrough in 2009.
It’s hardly been a secret that Jackson — who won ACC Player of the Year and earned consensus first-team All-American honors in 2016-17 — could bolt this offseason. But the 6-foot-8 wing’s departure leaves a gaping hole in North Carolina’s lineup.
After playing fourth fiddle last season, Jackson scored 20 points in nearly half of UNC’s games this year and reached double figures in all but three contests.