North Carolina’s Justin Jackson declares for the draft

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Fresh off of an all-american season that earned him the ACC Player of the Year award, National Champ Justin Jackson of North Carolina will declare for the NBA Draft and sign with an agent.

“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 on Thursday morning. “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 18.3 points and 4.7 boards this past season, setting the single-season North Carolina record for made three-pointers. He played his way into potentially being a lottery pick in what is a loaded 2017 draft class.

“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. “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.”

“He improved from a 29 percent three-point shooter to setting school records for three-point shooting; his scoring, rebounding, assists, ball-handling and leadership skills all improved, and when we got deep into the NCAA Tournament, he became an elite defender. His last three defensive performances against Kentucky, Oregon and Gonzaga against some of the most talented perimeter scorers in the country were nothing short of spectacular.”