After three years of slowly establishing himself as one of the ACC's steadiest point guards, Demetrius Jackson is headed to the NBA. The Notre Dame star declared his intention to enter the 2016 NBA draft on Tuesday, two days after the North Carolina Tar Heels bounced the Irish in the Elite Eight.
Notre Dame's official Twitter account relayed a message from Jackson announcing his intentions:
Notre Dame MBB @NDmbb
A message from All-ACC honoree, NCAA All-Region Team selection & captain Demetrius Jackson: https://t.co/MfepBIPU7x2016-3-30 01:54:16
Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated confirmed Jackson will be hiring an agent, making him ineligible to return to school for his senior year.
Jackson, 21, averaged 15.8 points, 4.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds as a junior. He led the Irish in both scoring and assists while helping spearhead one of the nation's most efficient offensive attacks. Notre Dame finished its run as the eighth-best offense in the country, per KenPom.com.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas discussed Jackson's skill set with Jordan Wells of Rivals' Black and Gold Illustrated:
He’s an attack guard that can score. He plays low. He can beat you off the dribble, he’s powerful and he can make contested shots. He has three-point range, and he guards. He’s a really good player, and he can take over the game. He can go out and give you 30, but then give the ball up. He’s a hell of a player.
The NCAA enacted a new rule for 2016 that allows players to keep their names in the draft for 10 days after the draft combine, provided they do not hire representation.
For players on the first-round fence, the process can be instructive. For Jackson, though, it probably isn't. He's a lock for the middle of the first round barring some type of injury. The skill set he brings to the table is perfect for the playoff-bound teams in his range, as he already brings a number of NBA skills and a pro body to the table.
Jackson is a bit undersized (6'1", 201 lbs) but does nearly everything else well. He's a better three-point shooter than his percentages in 2015-16 (33.1 percent average), has great off-the-dribble quickness and plays with a smart, unselfish nature that ingratiates him to teammates. His athleticism isn't quite the same as former teammate Jerian Grant, but it's clear he learned from his mentor.
Jackson probably has a lower ceiling than Grant as well, but this is a far weaker class than 2015. It's no surprise he's entering the draft, and don't look for him to go any lower than the mid-20s.