Justin Jackson — the 2017 ACC Player of the Year who helped the North Carolina men's basketball team take home the 2017 national title — has declared for the NBA Draft and will hire an agent, forgoing his senior season at UNC, the team announced Thursday.
“My family and I discussed my decision with Coach Williams and we agree that declaring for the NBA Draft is best for my career," Jackson said in a statement. "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.”
Jackson came to North Carolina as part of the nation's No. 10 recruiting class — along with Theo Pinson and Joel Berry — in 2014. During his first year in Chapel Hill, the wing from Tomball, Texas, averaged 10.7 points per game in 37 starts.
Following a sophomore season that saw Jackson bump his point totals up to 12.2 points per game, he opted to test the draft process and participate in the NBA Draft Combine. Using the information he gathered from NBA personnel, Jackson came back to Chapel Hill with a mission, and he put in the extra work in the offseason to make sure he'd keep professional scouts interested.
"Justin explored his draft options after his sophomore season but understood it was in his best interest to play another season of college basketball, and what a year it was for him and our team," head coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "He did what our coaches and the NBA people advised him to do — get stronger and work on making more shots. He responded by investing a tremendous amount of his time in the offseason and came back to school a bigger, better and more confident player.