UConn's Andre Jackson Jr. opts to remain in NBA Draft | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / May 21.
  • UConn’s Andre Jackson Jr. opts to remain in NBA Draft

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    UConn junior wing Andre Jackson Jr. announced he will remain in the NBA Draft.

    The 6-foot-6 Albany, N.Y. native is the projected No. 32 pick by ESPN.com while Tankathon has him at No. 42.

    Jackson joins sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins and junior big man Adama Sanogo among members of the NCAA champion Huskies to remain in the Draft. Earlier Wednesday, senior point guard Tristen Newton announced he would withdraw from the Draft and return to UConn.

    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 at the NBA Combine with the Knicks, Suns and Bucks, among other teams.

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

    Scout No. 1: “‘Love him. He impacts the game and winning in so many ways.”

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

    Said Jackson of his expectations for himself, “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 without him, 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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