New NBA Draft rules were implemented last year that let early entrants keep their collegiate eligibility after receiving feedback from professional teams and scouts if they do not hire an agent and withdraw by late May.
For the first time, a Blue Devil will take advantage of that flexibility.
Freshman Frank Jackson will declare for the draft without hiring an agent, allowing him to retain his collegiate eligibility if he withdraws by May 24 based on feedback he gets in the coming weeks, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported Saturday night. Multiple other outlets also reported the news.
The deadline to declare for the draft is Sunday.
Duke freshman guard Frank Jackson will declare for draft, will not sign with agent, sources confirmed to ESPN. First by @tribjazz— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 23, 2017
An explosive combo guard, Jackson had an up-and-down 2016-17 season. He was among the injury-plagued team’s leading scorers by posting double figures in his first eight collegiate games and hitting a game-tying 3-pointer in the Champions Classic against Kansas before hitting a wall in December.
After sitting out against Maine due to injury, Jackson did not hit double figures in his next five contests as the Blue Devils got fellow freshman Jayson Tatum into the mix offensively. The Alpine, Utah, native then struggled in ACC play after scoring 15 points apiece in his first two league games, never reaching that mark again until late February against Miami.
Despite his inconsistency, the 6-foot-3 guard showed off his playmaking ability late in the season, scoring at least 14 points in six of Duke’s final eight games of the year and making several key shots during the team’s historic ACC championship run. The former five-star recruit finished the year averaging 10.9 points per game and shooting 39.5 percent from long range.
Jackson is known for his quickness off the dribble and deadly jump shooting, but his inconsistency is the main reason he is not listed on most mock drafts at this time.
He will look to impress at the NBA Draft combine next month before deciding whether or not to return to Durham.
If Jackson stays in the draft, it will be the first time ever Duke has had four players leave for the draft early in one year, and the Blue Devils will have eight open scholarships next season, including seven departures among the team’s top-eight scorers from last season. Jackson would become Duke’s third one-and-done player this year alongside Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles and give the Blue Devils even more production to replace next season in the backcourt.
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Although junior Grayson Allen is returning for head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team, Duke would need five-star guard Gary Trent Jr. and four-star prospect Alex O’Connell to play heavy minutes right away if Jackson does indeed leave. The Blue Devils are also still in the running for five-star point guard Trevon Duval and five-star wing Kevin Knox after losing leading scorer Luke Kennard—who hired an agent for the NBA Draft following his breakout sophomore campaign—and senior Matt Jones.
Up front, Duke is counting on five-star big man Wendell Carter to produce right away with Amile Jefferson out of eligibility and Giles and Tatum putting their names in the draft. The Blue Devils are still courting five-star center Mohamed Bamba and will likely need freshman Marques Bolden or sophomore Antonio Vrankovic to step up with reserve big men Chase Jeter and Sean Obi transferring.