In one of the more shocking turn of events, it appeared Maryland basketball forward Justin Jackson was destined for the NBA.
After declaring for the draft without hiring an agent, Jackson’s stock roared to where he was even being projected as a possible first-round pick. However, Jackson will return to College Park for his sophomore season, the school announced on Wednesday.
Jackson would have been the fourth key player to depart Maryland this summer. Guard Melo Trimble also declared, center Damonte Dodd graduated and guard Jaylen Brantley transferred to UMass.
The 6’7″ Canadian forward broke out as a freshman with his freak athleticism and a stretch of hot shooting. He finished the season averaging 10.5 points and six rebounds per game. Alongside fellow freshman guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter, Jackson was poised to come back even better in his second season.
However, as a surprise to many, he tested NBA waters and performed far better than many thought he would. The Ringer had Jackson going No. 27 overall in their mock draft while Trimble, arguably the program’s biggest star since Len Bias, continues to see his stock plummet.
Jackson’s announcement will receive plenty of happy reactions from Terps fans who are hoping for big things after a first-round exit at the hands of 11-seed Xavier in the NCAA Tournament last season. Surely, coach Mark Turgeon will be thrilled to have his skillful forward back as well.