Scott Phillips/Inside Carolina

UNC's Justin Jackson Discusses NBA Decision

Inside Carolina sat down with Justin Jackson at the NBA Draft Combine for an in-depth discussion about his thought process as he approaches the draft entry deadline.

CHICAGO -- Justin Jackson has a decision to make.

Coming off of a solid sophomore season, the Tar Heel wing opted to take advantage of the new rule allowing players a greater ability to evaluate their draft prospects, which is why Jackson is at the NBA Draft Combine this week.

He can interview with a host of teams and gather information as he decides his next step. So far, Jackson told Inside Carolina that he's interviewed with Houston, Miami, Charlotte, San Antonio, Minnesota, Memphis, New Orleans and Portland while he has a workout scheduled with the Spurs next week.

Jackson said he'll work out for additional NBA teams before deciding whether or not he'll come back to North Carolina.

"I'm supposed to work out for a team next weekend, so I can't make a decision until I do that," Jackson said. "Spurs for sure and I'm supposed to work out for one other team, I'm not entirely sure yet."

Jackson has gotten valuable feedback from his meetings with NBA teams.

"I've interviewed with quite a bit," Jackson said. "And [the feedback is] I have to shoot better, consistently - have to shoot more consistently from the three - and get a little bit stronger. And that's kind of the main two things I go through with teams when I interview."

The teams have also asked Jackson a lot of personal questions about his life and what type of person that he is.

"It's good. They ask some detailed questions. Background stuff. At the end of the day, I just know I can go in there and be myself and be honest with them," Jackson said. "For me, I don't have much on me as far as things they would need to worry about. I just go in there, be honest with them and go from there.

"There's been some funnier questions that have caught me off guard. I just went in there expecting everything they might ask. It's been really, really interesting and a really good time."

The NBA Draft combine gives Jackson an opportunity to play in front of the NBA personnel and GMs in attendance. Also in attendance is Jackson's coach at UNC, Roy Williams.

"It's great to see him supporting us," Jackson said of Williams, who is also watching Tar Heels Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige. "So for him to be out there supporting us, watching us, it shows the type of person and type of coach that he is. And how much he loves his players. It's great to see him out there and I hope he keeps on doing it."

During the NBA Draft process, Williams and Jackson have kept an open dialogue about where things stand. Jackson said that his coach has some things he's looking for in this process.

"For him, it's whatever I want to do," Jackson said. "He does have kind of his things he'd rather me do, as far as, he wants me for sure to be first round. He knows how hard it is in the second round to get on a team. He knows the first round is guaranteed for at least the first two years. For him, it's about me making the best decision for me. And he's been helpful through that."

When pressed on whether he needed to hear from NBA teams that he was a guaranteed first-round pick in order to stay in the draft, Jackson downplayed any specific expectations.

"Honestly, I'm just trying to get as much information from them as possible," Jackson said. "You know, what they think my strengths and weaknesses are. What they think I might be at. Whatever it is, I'm just trying to get as much information as I can."

If Jackson does end up returning to North Carolina, he's excited about the possibility of playing on what could be a very good Tar Heel team.

"I mean, obviously, I always tell people, 'that's not a bad fallback.'" Jackson said. "And I don't mean fallback, as far as 'plan B' by any means. But if it's not my time to come out, to know that I have a chance to go back to a team that can do really big things next year, that's definitely a great option."

He's got less than two weeks left to finalize his decision. The NBA Draft deadline is May 25.


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