In just the second season of the NBA's new rule giving early draft entrants more flexibility, Duke guard Frank Jackson became the first Blue Devil to take advantage and test the waters at the league's draft combine.
Now, he's diving all the way into the draft pool.
The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning that Jackson will sign with an agent and remain in the 2017 NBA Draft, becoming the fourth Duke player this season to forgo multiple seasons of collegiate eligibility in favor of a shot at the professional level. Jackson's father confirmed the report to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
Duke freshman guard Frank Jackson will remain in the 2017 NBA Draft and hire an agent, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 12, 2017
Frank Jackson's father, Al Jackson, has confirmed to ESPN that Frank will sign with agent and remain in NBA Draft. https://t.co/cpooSbZ5Y9— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 12, 2017
The program confirmed Jackson's departure in a press release Friday afternoon.
“His combination of athleticism and fearlessness makes him a special player. The next step for him is continuing to develop so he can maximize his exceptional potential," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a press release. "He’ll always be a member of our brotherhood and we want nothing but the very best for him.”
The Alpine, Utah native also becomes the 10th Blue Devil since 2011 to go one-and-done, joining classmates Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.9 points per game in his lone season for Duke, shooting 47.3 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from long distance. Jackson showed his mettle from the get-go, draining a pair of crucial late triples in the Blue Devils' early-season loss to Kansas.
The freshman kept it up from there—he scored double-figure points in each of his first eight games and poured in a career-high 22 points against then-No. 15 Florida State in a home win in late February. The game against the Seminoles cemented Jackson's place in the starting lineup for the rest of the season, as he started the last eight games with Grayson Allen coming off the bench.
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Jackson announced his decision in the middle of the NBA Draft Combine, which started Tuesday and will last until Sunday. He is a second-round pick in most mock drafts but could play his way into the first round, and he impressed in the Combine's first 5-on-5 scrimmages Thursday evening.
With Jackson now out of the picture, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will have to continue the rebuild of a backcourt that is still looking to sign top point guard recruit Trevon Duval.
Despite the return of Allen, the Blue Devils will still be replacing more than 75 percent of their backcourt scoring from 2016-17 will be without the services of Luke Kennard and Matt Jones—Jackson's departure only adds to those woes.