The inevitable is now official: Josh Jackson is going pro. The Kansas freshman power forward put out a statement Monday that brought an end to his Kansas playing career. Jackson, who was ranked by some recruiting services as the No. 1 player in the high school class of 2016, averaged 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in 35 games this past season. Kansas went 31-5 and earned a No. 1 seed thanks in good part to the play of Jackson. He was the second most important piece for KU this past season, alongside National Player of the Year Frank Mason.
Jackson not only has made his decision to enter the NBA Draft official, he also announced he's signed with former Chicago Bulls guard and established NBA agent B.J. Armstrong, who works with Wasserman Media Group. The 6-foot-8 Jackson is projected as a top-five pick by pretty much everyone in the business. If he has a strong pre-draft process, there is the potential he could go No. 1. Jackson is the No. 2 selection in the latest NBA Mock Drafts by CBS Sports' Gary Parrish and Howard Megdal.
The issue for Jackson will be his somewhat-rocky freshman season at Kansas off the court. Jackson was charged with causing significant damage to the car of a women's Kansas basketball player in December. He was never suspended for that, but he did sit Kansas' one and only Big 12 Tournament game after he delayed telling KU coach Bill Self of a "traffic incident" that occurred weeks prior to the Big 12 tourney. It remains to be seen if Jackson's doings off the floor will impact where he gets selected.
In his draft statement on Monday, Jackson wrote he appreciated "all of the support I have received from my coaches and teammates at Kansas."
Jackson is an intriguing basketball prospect because he's the most versatile defender of any of the forwards available in this draft, and is considered among the best two-way all-around players in the pool.