LAWRENCE — Josh Jackson has made the obvious official.
The Kansas basketball freshman guard has declared for the NBA Draft and hired an agent, officially ending his one-year collegiate career. Jackson made the announcement via a statement sent to the Associated Press.
KU confirmed the decision in a Monday afternoon news release.
“After thoroughly consulting with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball,” Jackson said in the release. “I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from my coaches and teammates at Kansas.”
Jackson won the Big 12 newcomer of the year award and made the all-conference first team on the heels of 16.3-point, 7.4-rebound averages last season, which ended in an Elite Eight defeat to Oregon on March 25. Jackson battled early foul trouble in that contest and and finished with 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting and 12 rebounds, his 13th and final collegiate double-double.
KU coach Bill Self said the decision “obviously does not come as a surprise.”
“When we recruited Josh we were so fortunate but also knew this would probably be a one-year stay,” Self said. “He has not only surpassed our expectations as a player but also as a leader and a teammate. We are all very happy for Josh and his family and are very proud of having coached one of the most talented kids that has ever come through here. We’ve had a lot of really good ones here, but Josh is as prepared for the next level as anyone that we have ever had.”
The 6-foot-8 Jackson was integral to KU’s deployment of the four-guard lineup for the first time in the Self era, playing the four position for the Jayhawks. His career-best effort came Feb. 11 at Texas Tech when Jackson scored 31 points on 12-for-15 shooting, helping KU overcome limited minutes from an ill Frank Mason. Jackson hit a go-ahead free throw in the game’s final seconds en route to an 80-79 victory.
Off-court headlines also accompanied Jackson’s single season at KU, culminating in a one-game suspension for the team’s eventual quarterfinal loss to TCU in the Big 12 Tournament.
Jackson faces two ongoing legal issues: a misdemeanor criminal property damage charge stemming from a Dec. 9 confrontation, where Jackson is alleged to have damaged a KU women’s basketball player’s car after the woman threw a drink in the face of one of Jackson’s teammates at Yacht Club in Lawrence, and multiple citations for an alleged inattentive driving incident in early February, where Jackson backed into a car on campus and left without leaving behind contact information.
At the time of Jackson’s suspension, Self said the one-game banishment was not the result of a “singular event.” Jackson has pleaded not guilty in the misdemeanor criminal property damage charge and awaits a hearing on the inattentive driving charge on May 26 in municipal court.
Jackson, currently a projected top-three pick at both NBADraft.net and DraftExpress.com, has hired agent B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group for representation.