PHILADELPHIA – With a voice barely audible as he sat at his locker in the Wells Fargo Center locker room, Demetrius Jackson had little to say following Notre Dame’s 88-74 loss in the East Regional finals against North Carolina as it pertained to his upcoming decision-making process.
Faced with the prospect of deciding between returning for his senior season with the Irish in 2016-17 or launching his professional career with a year of eligibility in his pocket, his only response to an inquiry about his future was: “That’s something I’ll discuss later.”
Irish head coach Mike Brey discussed it for him, and vowed that his role in the process would be that of a facilitator, not a pitchman.
“You can’t recruit him,” Brey said. “He needs to be supported and get the information. If business says he should go, I’ll lead the parade out of town.”
Recent legislation allows Jackson to declare for the draft and participate in the May combine in Chicago without penalty of sacrificing his final year of eligibility, provided he does not hire an agent during the process.
Prospects at the combine will be evaluated by NBA team personnel and given an educated guess as to their draft status in the two-round set-up.
The players would then be able to stay in the draft or return to school, whereas the previous rule did not allow for a return to school after declaring for the draft and participating in the combine.
“We’ll take our time and really analyze it,” Brey said. “The great thing is the rule. He can go up to Chicago, go to the pre-draft camp and get his feedback.
“There’s no rush to judgment. There’s a week after the pre-draft camp before you have to make a decision, and Demetrius is methodical about his decision-making. We’ll sit down together, go through it, and give him every opportunity to get the right info.”
Jackson, who had struggled throughout several of his performances since suffering a hamstring pull in late January, saved one of his best efforts of his collegiate career for last.
Jackson converted 10-of-16 shots from the field, including 3-of-7 from three-point range, to finish with 26 points. The point total was one shy of his career mark.
For the fourth time in the last 16 games, he converted at least 50 percent of his shots. It was just the third time in the last 20 games that Jackson made as many as three three-pointers in a game.
“I tell you one thing, he helped his stock tonight,” Brey said. “He looked like an NBA guard tonight.”
Teammate/classmate V.J. Beachem was asked what his pitch would be to Jackson to coerce him to stay for his fourth and final season in the program.
“We’ve been here twice, but we’ve still got unfinished business,” Beachem said.
“But regardless, I’m so proud of him. I’ve known him for a long time, and I expected nothing less than the effort he’s given us.”