NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Justin Jackson

by Jonah Ballow

The Path
Justin Jackson is a Texas native that garnered significant attention from the elite college basketball programs around the nation.  After winning a state title in high school and averaging 31.5 points and 9.1 rebounds, Jackson was listed as a five-star recruit with offers from several basketball powerhouses, including North Carolina.  Jackson decided to join the Tarheels where he spent three seasons developing an all-around game suited for the NBA.  As one of the most decorated prospects in the class, Jackson owns a national championship, ACC Player of the Year trophy, and was named a consensus first-team All-American.  Jackson’s recent success at the college level led to the 22-year old forgoing his senior season and entering the NBA Draft.

As opposed to most of the prospects at the top of this year’s Draft, Jackson is an experienced college basketball player.  His maturity and ample court time in pressure-packed situations are attractive for teams searching for an immediate impact player.  Jackson improved his shooting during his junior season, especially as a spot-up shooter and working off screens for open looks.  He makes smart decisions on both sides of the floor with a high basketball IQ and attention to detail.  Scouts love his ability to make accurate and quick passes in traffic.  Jackson can also defend multiple positions due to his length and quickness.

Next Level
Jackson sits just outside of the lottery in most mock drafts.  He’s targeted to be in the 14-18 range on June 22.  A team that drafts Jackson will receive a ready-made player that could morph into an NBA role player from day one.  Teams will look to help Jackson build strength, increase his rebounding percentage, and free-throw line attempts at the next level.  With that said, Jackson is a winner and the improvement in his game from a sophomore to junior should not be overlooked.

Statistically Speaking
Jackson racked up 239 total career points in NCAA tournament play.

What They’re Saying
“Jackson’s contributions to the national title-winning Tar Heels were the icing on the cake in remaking his status as an NBA prospect. He was able to improve his jumper and displayed increased commitment on both sides of the floor.” Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated