Seeing Justin Jackson’s name in the first round of ESPN’s current mock draft for 2018 wasn’t a surprise. Nor was the fact that the 6-7 forward from Canada has seemingly moved up from being mentioned toward the end of the first round to smack in the middle — as the No. 15 overall pick.
Jackson’s decision to put his name in this year’s draft and his subsequent performance at the NBA Combine in Chicago has scouts and front office types intrigued at a player with a 7-3 wingspan who can shoot the 3-ball as well as Jackson did as a freshman (a team-high 43.8 percent).
The rising sophomore is listed as a combo forward who can play both inside and outside. Jackson, who is a willing passer, said he believes he can also be used the way Draymond Green is utilized by the world champion Golden State Warriors as a center.
According to ESPN’s mock draft, one of many we will see in the next 10 months, Jackson was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was their second first-round pick, with the 76ers taking Michigan State freshman forward Jarren Jackson at No. 9
The good news for Maryland fans is that two other players who have attracted interest from NBA scouts — rising sophomore wing Kevin Huerter and incoming freshman forward Bruno Fernando — are not among the 60 players listed in the first two rounds.
Though it seems certain that Jackson wants to leave College Park after two years, it’s not a lock.
As former Terps Melo Trimble and Diamond Stone learned the hard way — Trimble after his freshman year, when he was projected as a first-round pick and Stone after his senior year in high school when many listed him as a potential top 10 selection — the college season has a way of sorting things out.