Maryland lands four-star recruit Justin Jackson

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Coach Mark Turgeon now has four signees for his 2016 recruiting class.

Since he was interested in both Maryland and Oregon after recently reopening his college search, four-star high school prospect Justin Jackson was monitoring the moves this week by the teams' respective stars when it came to whether or not they would keep their names in the NBA draft.

When Oregon sophomore forward Dillon Brooks opted Wednesday to return to the Ducks, that meant there would be more playing time available in College Park for the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Jackson. When Maryland point guard Melo Trimble made a similar decision later in the day — about two hours before the midnight deadline — it also meant that there would be someone to pass the ball to Jackson.


According to Jordan McFarlane, who coached Jackson during his senior year at The Hill Academy outside Toronto and has known him for nearly a decade, the decisions by Brooks, a fellow Canadian, and Trimble played into the former UNLV commit's move to orally commit to the Terps on Thursday.

McFarlane said that Jackson, who could not be reached for comment, would sign with Maryland "very soon." McFarlane said that Maryland has been on Jackson's radar since the beginning of last season, even after committing to the Runnin' Rebels. Jackson committed to UNLV after playing at Findlay Prep outside Las Vegas during high school.


"We were always in communication with them, but they were very respectful of the fact that he was committed to UNLV first, verbally," McFarlane said of the Terps. "When this happened [and Jackson reopened the search], conversations between us became more frequent and they just kept letting us know that if it happens, 'He has a home here. And we want him.'"

Jackson recently visited both Maryland and Oregon, and was also considering Connecticut.

In accordance with NCAA rules, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon could not talk about Jackson's commitment or his impending signing. Jackson becomes the fourth player in a recruiting class that jumped into the top 10 when news of his commitment was broken by CBS Sports and the Washington Post.

Jackson has a composite rating of No. 87 by, but was rated as high as No. 26 overall by ESPN before returning to Canada for his senior year.

Asked if Trimble's decision to return to College Park for his junior year factored into Jackson's commitment less than 12 hours later, McFarlane said, "I think that did play a huge part, but it wasn't the only [reason]. I think it's huge. Him and Melo will definitely benefit from Melo coming back. He's going to help facilitate for Justin and Justin will be doing the same. He likes to get people involved."

McFarlane said the fact that the Terps were replacing four starters, including small forward Jake Layman, was important to Jackson. That position at Oregon would have likely been Jackson's had Brooks, the team's leading scorer last season, decided to keep his name in the NBA draft. Unlike Trimble, Brooks was not even invited to the NBA combine.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it, player personnel helped make his decision," McFarlane said. "They've been friends [he and Brooks], and in a perfect world, they'd play together. With Dillon coming back, that may have become a deciding factor. But it wasn't the only factor. Maryland stated they needed him to come in and play a big role and that was what he was looking for."

McFarlane said Jackson's ability to play "1 through 4" — both guard and forward positions — should give Turgeon flexibility in how he uses him. It seems likely that given Jackson's size, length and the fact that Maryland is deeper in the backcourt than it has been since Turgeon took over in 2011, Jackson will likely play mostly at small forward and could also move more inside, as Layman did as a junior.


"He'll be a mismatch nightmare for teams if he's a big playing on the wing," McFarlane said.

McFarlane said Jackson's personality should fit in well with the Terps.

"He's always been a very unselfish kid," McFarlane said. "He's always had a lot of attention on him but he's always wanted to shed some light on his teammates. His strongest attribute is his passing ability and his basketball IQ, always wanting to make guys look better. He doesn't want to hog all the limelight. He wants to be that guy who shares the spotlight with his teammates."