After helping UConn secure the program’s fifth national title, Andre Jackson has elected to declare for the NBA Draft, like teammates Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Unlike Hawkins, Jackson has elected to retain collegiate eligibility, meaning he will be able to meet with NBA scouts to get a grasp on his pro prospects, but still has the option to return to UConn.
ESPN Sources: University of Connecticut junior Andre Jackson Jr., -- a driving force in the Huskies’ national championship run – plans to enter the NBA Draft in June but retain his college eligibility: https://t.co/OV8atTWOpG— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 18, 2023
Jackson will have to make a decision by 11:59 p.m. on May 31 to either turn pro and stay in the draft or return to Storrs for a fourth season. The rising senior from Amsterdam, New York was an integral piece of the Huskies’ 2023 title run, using his athleticism, passing abilities and defensive skills to help UConn dominate throughout the entire NCAA tournament.
In six NCAA tournament games, Jackson recorded 41 assists to just 10 turnovers and had six or more rebounds in three games. While shooting remains a pain point for Jackson, Dan Hurley overhauled Jackson’s role in the offense midseason, using Jackson as a baseline attacker and frequent cutter to the basket for easy dunks. The result? Jackson hit double figures in five of his final 13 games to finish the season and was one bucket and one board away from a tirple-double in the Elite Eight against Gonzaga, where he scored eight points with nine rebounds and 10 assists. He averaged 6.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game for UConn this season.
Jackson currently projects as an early second round pick according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givens, who has him going No. 32 overall to the Indiana Pacers. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie has him at No. 46 to Portland, but that mock draft hasn’t been updated since before the Final Four. With Jackson now officially in the draft pool, it’s very easy to see a scenario where a team falls in love with the athleticism and defensive impact he immediately brings and potentially take him at the back end of the first round.
While Jackson certainly established himself as an impact player at the college level, his lack of a consistent shot is the only thing that could damage his draft stock. Jackson has refined his shot since coming to UConn as a freshman, but still is well under 30 percent from beyond the 3-point line with below average mechanics. With Jackson more than capable at basically everything else on the court, NBA teams may want to roll the dice and refine his stroke under their own roof. If not, Jackson can return to UConn to continue to improve his game and return to the draft next year, which projects to be a weaker draft class.
Jackson also voiced a desire to come back to UConn for one last go around following the title game victory over San Diego State.
“If Coach [Hurley] tells me to leave, I’ll leave,” Jackson said. “But I want to come back.”
Jackson’s potential departure combined may open another scholarship for Hurley and the Huskies heading into next season. On Monday, Yarin Hasson announced he has decided to transfer after one season, where he appeared in 11 games and enrolled at UConn as a 17-year-old. On Tuesday, Richie Springs also elected to enter the transfer portal, and will be immediately eligible as a grad transfer. Springs appeared in 19 games this season and scored 15 points on the year. With Jackson’s potential departure and Springs and Hasson transferring, UConn currently has three open scholarships for next year.
GRID UPDATE— tcf15 (@tcf_15) April 18, 2023
Back so soon?!
National Champion and elite program guy Richie Springs has hit the portal and will be playing for what will eventually be my second favorite team next year.
With his move and Andre's announcement today, there are three open spots for 2023. pic.twitter.com/Wq3808G8lR