A year ago, then-Maryland freshman Justin Jackson was being mentioned prominently in several 2017 NBA mock drafts as a first-round pick.
That was before the 6-foot-8 Canadian forward decided to return to College Park for his sophomore year, which ended after 11 games because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Jackson is being mentioned again as a potential first-round draft choice — for 2019. A lottery pick, in fact.
Despite his shooting woes this season before he was shut down, Jackson was listed in ESPN’s 2019 mock draft as the No. 13 overall pick, taken by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Fellow sophomore Kevin Huerter, a 6-7 guard who has been previously overlooked by all the mock drafts, was listed as an early second-round pick in 2019, taken by the Phoenix Suns at No. 32.
Freshman center Bruno Fernando wasn’t mentioned on ESPN’s 2019 mock draft, but the 6-10 Angolan was on NBA Draft Room’s 2019 mock draft.
Fernando was mentioned at No. 23, taken by the Miami Heat, four spots ahead of Jackson, who at No. 27 was predicted as the top pick of his hometown Toronto Raptors.
It isn’t certain what Jackson is planning to do after the season, since he hasn’t spoken to the media since Maryland coach Mark Turgeon announced the season-ending surgery in December.
Jackson had the surgery on his shoulder in early January, and with a four-to-six month rehabilitation expected, it’s doubtful he would be ready to participate in the NBA scouting combine in mid-May in Chicago as he did last year.