Justin Jackson joined the growing list of players bolting from college basketball to join the NBA Draft when he announced Thursday he would forego his senior season at North Carolina.
Unlike many of the early departures, Jackson stuck around for three seasons and improved every year. He led the Tar Heels to two straight National Championship games. Earlier this month, he helped North Carolina avenge last season's loss by beating Gonzaga.
“My family and I discussed my decision with Coach (Roy) Williams and we agree that declaring for the NBA Draft is best for my career," Jackson said."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.
"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.”
Jackson led the Tar Heels in scoring this year at 18.3 points per game, set the UNC single-season record with 105 three-pointers, averaged a career-high 4.7 rebounds and was second on the team in assists with 113.
He is a projected lottery pick.
“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," 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.”