Maryland Basketball: Justin Jackson moving on to the NBA

Maryland basketball forward Justin Jackson has declared for the NBA Draft, leaving the Terps without their star player for next season.

Maryland basketball will be without Justin Jackson now that he has declared for the 2018 NBA Draft and hired an agent. It comes as a surprise. Some may wonder if it’s the right move for the development of his game.

In late December, it was announced that Jackson would be missing the remainder of the season after suffering a torn labrum. Jackson finished the season with 9.8 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, and 1.9 assists per game.

While many of those stats are better or close to what he did in his freshman year, which ended with 10.5 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, and 0.9 assists per game, the real concern was his drop in shooting percentage. In his freshman season, Jackson shot 43.8% from the floor, but before his injury this past season, he was shooting just 36.6%.

Had Jackson decided to declare to the NBA after a fully developed, injury-free season that would have made more sense, but he didn’t, and now head coach Mark Turgeon will need to land a couple more big men to replace him in the 2018 class.

Turgeon already has a 6’10” forward in Jalen Smith waiting in the wings, who played in the McDonalds All-American game Wednesday. He is a solid rebounder and scorer which Maryland Basketball had this season with Bruno Fernando, so that pairing could prove to be beneficial to the Terps on both sides of the floor.

So the question then becomes, who else currently on the roster is going to take an active role in making up for his departure? The Terps still have Michal Cekovsky, Ivan Bender will be back from injury and Fernando as well.

These three will need to be key contributors in order to replace what Jackson could have done with the team in the future.

This is a part of college basketball, players move on and teams have to replace those players. Justin Jackson’s solid lone healthy season was a good one.

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