NBA bound: Demetrius Jackson leaves no doubt

Jackson becomes the first Irish player to leave after his junior season with a year of eligibility remaining since Troy Murphy following the 2001 campaign.

What began as a testing of the waters Sunday night quickly became a headlong dive into the National Basketball Association.

Demetrius Jackson, who played perhaps the most impressive game of his three-year career at Notre Dame in the East Regional finals in Philadelphia two nights earlier against North Carolina, removed all mystery with a declarative statement on Instagram Tuesday night.

d_jay11 I am blessed with the opportunity to say I will be declaring for the NBA Draft. It was an honor to represent such a great University and program.

There have been many people who’ve helped me along this journey, and I’d like to thank my family, my teammates, and coaches for shaping me to be the player and man I am today. The continuous support of the Notre Dame family has made these past three years unforgettable.

A huge thank you to my foster family—you opened your home to me, gave me the best possible situation to be successful, and allowed me to open up and trust again. Words will never be enough to describe how you’ve helped me grow.

And to all those people who believed in me through the ups and downs, thank you. Not only do I have a place to call home with my foster family, but now another at Notre Dame. #NotDoneYet #574

Jackson will comment further on his decision on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. EDT during a press conference on the campus of Notre Dame.

A source told Irish Illustrated late Tuesday night that Jackson had yet to sign with an agent, but was in the process of selecting and signing one, which would seal his decision to enter the NBA draft.

Sunday, following Notre Dame’s 88-74 loss to North Carolina, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said that Jackson would declare for the draft, not sign with an agent, and participate in the mid-May NBA combine in Chicago, leaving wiggle room for him to return for his senior

Brey said he would help Jackson come to a decision as opposed to making a sale’s pitch for his return.

“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.”

That parade already had gathered momentum with a 26-point, 10-of-16 shooting performance against the Tar Heels that made Jackson look like the NBA lottery pick that many suggested he already was leading up to and during the 2015-16 season.

After suffering a hamstring pull in a Jan. 23 home game against Boston College, Jackson struggled with his shooting consistency, and would later join the rest of the Irish during a difficult patch in the ACC tournament when turnovers plagued them.

But Jackson sparked Notre Dame’s run to the Elite 8, scoring four points in the last two minutes of a come-from-behind victory over Stephen F. Austin in the Round of 32, scoring six points in a late 8-0 run to defeat Wisconsin in the Sweet 16, and then exploding in the regional championship game.

Several questions are unanswered heading into Jackson’s Wednesday press conference, such as will he finish the spring semester at Notre Dame, how close is he to earning his undergraduate degree, and what the timetable is for selecting an agent.

Once Jackson signs, his career at Notre Dame officially will be over with 1,204 points, which places him at 40th on the all-time school list. He also ranks 17th in assists, tied for 17th in steals and 17th in free-throw percentage (.782).

Jackson averaged 15.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game in 2015-16.

Jackson was a second-team all-ACC selection by both the league coaches and media in 2015-16. He recently was named to the NCAA all-East Regional Tournament team following his brilliant performance against North Carolina.


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