NBA Draft 2023: UConn's Andre Jackson Jr. says he's 'probably going to be out,' but UConn 'can do it again' | Zagsblog
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Friday / June 14.
  • NBA Draft 2023: UConn’s Andre Jackson Jr. says he’s ‘probably going to be out,’ but UConn ‘can do it again’

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    CHICAGOAndre Jackson is officially testing the NBA Draft waters, but it’s looking more and more like the junior guard from Albany will stay in the NBA Draft.

    He’s one of three members of UConn’s national championship team here at the NBA Combine, along with shooting guard Jordan Hawkins and big man Adama Sanogo. Only Jackson and Sanogo are competing in 5-on-5 in front of NBA personnel.

    “When I can go back to the hotel room I’m definitely going to hit (Sanogo and Hawkins) up and go hang out with them and just chop it up with them because, I mean, Hawk is definitely out of here, so I’m not gonna have too much more time with him,” Jackson said, per the Hartford Courant.

    “I’m probably going to be out, Adama’s probably going to be out. It’s just a lot going on and just a great experience to be around these guys and, and just have this experience with them.”

    Jackson is currently projected as the No. 29 pick to the Indiana Pacers by ESPN.com and at No. 42 to the Washington Wizards by Tankathon, He has until May 31 to withdraw from the draft.

    A Swiss Army knife-type, Jackson averaged 6.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 43% from the field and 28% from deep.

    He’s already worked out for the Nets and met here Wednesday with three teams. He has four more meetings on Thursday.

    “The process has been going well,” he said Wednesday. “I had the Knicks, the Suns and the Bucks. It was very good. Sat down and talked with the teams about all different kinds of stuff, what I bring to the game, my upbringing, really just everything.”

    In his first game on Wednesday, he shot 2-for-3 for 4 points with an assist and a steal with two turnovers in his team’s 107-88 win. Sanogo shot 9-of-15 for 18 points with 10 boards in the loss.

    I checked in with a couple of NBA scouts, who spoke anonymously on Jackson:

    Scout No. 1: “I like him. He’s such a unique player. He has clear weak areas (shooting). But he also has clear strengths that will translate. I think he’s a second-round guy for sure.”

    Scout No. 2: “Excellent motor, plays high-level defense and passes the ball well, particularly well is transition.”

    As for what will factor into his decision, Jackson said: “I don’t really look at it as a decision, it’s more so how I perform. If I go out there and perform to the level where people really want me, then I’m going to go. That’s just how I look at it, it’s just all about the way that I perform and to the level that I perform.

    “I’m looking to be a first-round pick so I’m trying to perform like a first round pick and earn that spot. It’s all predicated on my performance.”

    He added: “A few teams said that they could plug me in right away, especially if I could knock down that corner three. A lot of teams are saying improve that corner three.

    “They believe that I bring a lot to the floor on the defensive end, being able to guard multiple positions and just being able to be a disruptor, a guy that can do a lot of different things and add to a team. Also the way that I can pass the ball, they definitely respect that. It’s just great to sit down with teams and hear them say how they feel about my game.”

    UConn coach Dan Hurley said last month that the staff would work with Jackson to make the best decision for him.

    “We don’t want to do something that’s great for UConn and not great for Andre Jackson because Andre’s given everything to us,” Hurley said. “We’ll get all the information, we’re talking to all the right people but it’s a UConn and an Andre decision because we’re very connected.”

    Even if he does go, Jackson believes UConn will be really good again next season when they play Gonzaga in Seattle, Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse, the Empire Classic with Texas, Louisville and Indiana at Madison Square Garden and North Carolina in the Jimmy V Classic at the Garden.

    “I think they could do it again,” he said. “It’s just all about the intention of it, going out there every single day and not being complacent because we did it already.”

    He thinks 7-foot-2 freshman Donovan Clingan, in particular, is due for a major jump. Clingan could well be here at the Combine a year from now.

    “He’s going to take gigantic steps,” Jackson said. “He’s a really dynamic player, somebody that’s going to affect the game on both sides of the floor. Everybody saw what he was able to do in short minutes this year, playing behind one of the best bigs in college basketball in Adama, so now he’s stepping into that role and he’s a really, really dedicated guy so I think he’s going to be ready for that opportunity.

    “I know what he’s going to, and he knows what he’s going to do. He’s set out in his mind to go out there and compete again and prove himself. I love that guy and I wish the best for him.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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