SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Demetrius Jackson, who helped Notre Dame advance to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 37 years, is entering the NBA draft.
“I am blessed with the opportunity to say I will be declaring for the NBA Draft. It was an honor to represent such a great University and program,” Jackson wrote in a statement the 6-foot-1 point guard posted Tuesday night on Instagram.
Coach Mike Brey, who said Monday he planned to sit down with Jackson in the next week to explore at least submitting his name for the draft but not signing with an agent, sent a Tweet saying he supported Jackson’s decision.
“Great decision by DJ & I fully support it,” Brey wrote. “He’s maxed out his college experience & is ready for challenge of NBA.”
University spokesman Alan Wasielewski said Jackson is expected to sign with an agent, which would mean he couldn’t revoke his decision and return to Notre Dame. Jackson has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday.
Jackson, who is from nearby Mishawaka, averaged 15.8 points and 4.7 assists in playing 36.0 minutes a game this season. He is the first Notre Dame player to declare early for the NBA draft since junior Carleton Scott in 2011. He went undrafted.
Jackson also thanked all those who supported him during his time at Notre Dame, saying they had made the last three years “unforgettable.” He also thanked his foster family, saying: “You gave me the best possible situation to be successful, and allowed me to open up and trust again. Words will never be enough to describe how you’ve helped me grow.”
Three others who played for Brey – forwards Luke Harangody in 2009 and Torin Francis in 2005 and guard Chris Thomas in 2003 – placed their names in the draft and then withdrew and returned to school. The only other player to declare for the draft under Brey was Troy Murphy in 2001. He was taken with the 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors.
The only other players to leave Notre Dame early for the NBA draft were Adrian Dantley in 1976, who was taken with the sixth overall pick by the then-Buffalo Braves and Gary Brokaw in 1974, who was taken with the 18th pick overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.