North Carolina

Justin Jackson to forego senior season at UNC, enter 2017 NBA Draft

Posted April 13

— After helping the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill capture its sixth NCAA title, junior forward Justin Jackson will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2017 NBA Draft.

The school said Jackson, a consensus first-team All-America selection and ACC player of the year, will hire an agent.

“I thank God, my coaches and teammates and the University of North Carolina for giving me this extraordinary opportunity,” Jackson said in a statement. “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.

"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 averaged a team-high 18.3 points per game in 2016-17 and hit a UNC-best 105 three pointers.

The Tomball, Texas, native became the 14th Tar Heel to earn ACC player of the year honors and is one of three (with Lennie Rosenbluth in 1957 and Ty Lawson in 2009) to win that award and lead UNC to a national championship in the same season.

UNC holds off Gonzaga to claim title

“We’re excited for Justin and proud of the way he conducted himself each day in leading our team to a national championship,” UNC head coach Roy Williams said in a statement.

“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. 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."

Jackson concludes his college career with 239 points in NCAA Tournament play, second most by any Tar Heel in history.

Overall, he played in 118 games, scoring 1,626 points (13.8 per game), with 481 rebounds, 314 assists and 168 three-pointers.

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