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Terps' Justin Jackson named to Julius Erving Award preseason watch list

Terps' Justin Jackson named to Julius Erving Award preseason watch list
Maryland forward Justin Jackson, left, drives around Ohio State forward Jae'Sean Tate in the first half of a game Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in College Park. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Maryland forward Justin Jackson, who decided to return to College Park for his sophomore year after going to the NBA scouting combine, was named to the Julius Erving Award preseason watch list.

The award, named for the legendary Dr. J., is given annual to the nation's top small forward.

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The 6-7, 225-pound Canadian played mostly as a power forward as a freshman, but will move to his natural position with the addition this season of freshman Bruno Fernando.

Jackson averaged 10.5 points and six rebounds per game while starting all but three games as a freshman for the Terps. He led the team in three-point shooting and was second in blocked shots.

Because of his offensive versatility and his 7-3 wingspan, Jackson has been mentioned as a potential first-round pick, and possible lottery selection, in the 2018 NBA draft.

He faces the toughest competition for the award from within the Big Ten Conference.

Michigan State sophomore Miles Bridges, a popular pick for preseason National Player of the Year honors, headlines a group that also includes Arizona's Rawle Alkins, Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., Purdue's Vincent Edwards, Wichita State's Markis McDuffie and Xavier's Trevon Bluiett, among others.

The watch list will be narrowed to 10 players by mid-February. Five finalists will be considered for the honor in March, and a Hall of Fame committee, including Erving, will award the winner April 6.

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