Duke's Frank Jackson hiring an agent, staying in NBA draft

Steve Wiseman, The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

DURHAM, N.C. -- Frank Jackson will not return to Duke next season.

The freshman guard, who declared for the NBA draft last month but left open the possibility of returning to school, is hiring an agent and will turn professional, according to the school. The first reported Jackson's decision Friday morning.

"Frank has a bright future ahead of him," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. "His combination of athleticism and fearlessness makes him a special player. The next step for him is continuing to develop so he can maximize his exceptional potential. He'll always be a member of our brotherhood and we want nothing but the very best for him."

The 6-3, 205-pound Jackson started 16 games for Duke last season, averaging 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He's not projected to be picked in either of the NBA draft's two rounds, according to various draft analysis websites. But he turned in a strong day at the NBA draft combine on Thursday and that solidified his decision to leave Duke for good.

Jackson joins three other Duke players -- Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Luke Kennard -- in leaving school early for the NBA this offseason. Kennard, a 6-5 sophomore guard, and Tatum, a 6-8 freshman forward, were Duke's two leading scorers and are projected as first-round picks. Giles, a 6-11 freshman forward, is projected to go late in the first round.

Duke has also lost two seniors, 6-9 forward Amile Jefferson and 6-5 guard Matt Jones, from last season's ACC championship team. Forwards Chase Jeter and Sean Obi both transferred.

Duke will bring back 6-5 senior guard Grayson Allen, an all-American and the team's leading scorer as a sophomore who was a reserve at the end of last season, to anchor the backcourt. Incoming freshman 6-5 shooting guard Gary Trent is a five-star player with one-and-done potential.

The Blue Devils are hoping to land five-star recruit Trevon Duval, the No. 1-rated point guard in the Class of 2017. He is choosing between Duke, Kansas, Seton Hall, Baylor and Arizona.

Duke's backcourt depth includes two incoming freshmen, 6-5 four-star shooting guard Alex O'Connell and 6-2 three-star point guard Jordan Goldwire, as well as 6-7 sophomore small forward Jack White.

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