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Justin Jackson Returning for His Junior Season

Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

That didn't take long.

UNC has announced that rising junior wing Justin Jackson will return for his junior season after going through the draft process.

Via press release:

Justin Jackson, a rising junior and two-year starter on the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team, is withdrawing from the 2016 NBA Draft and will return to school to play for the Tar Heels in 2016-17.

The Tomball, Texas, native has scored 895 points in his first two seasons. He’s started 75 of 78 games, averaging 11.5 points per contest with 50 games in double figures. Last year as a sophomore, Jackson averaged 12.2 points as Carolina won the ACC regular-season and Tournament titles and the NCAA East Regional and advanced to the national championship game. Jackson scored in double figures 28 times, registered four games with at least 20 points, and had 113 assists. He was the Most Valuable Player of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.

“I’m glad I had the chance to enter the Draft and attend the Combine where I was able to meet with a number of NBA executives and test my game against some of the top players in the country, but after discussing it with my parents and coaches and praying over this decision, the best choice for my basketball future is to return to school and play for the Tar Heels next season,” says Jackson. “My dream certainly is to play in the NBA and going through the draft process this year was another step toward reaching that goal, but I’ve loved my first two years at Carolina and am excited about the upcoming season. It’s going to be a fun year, I will be another year closer to earning my degree and can continue to develop as a person and a player.”

“Justin certainly did the right thing in entering the Draft because it helped him and his family make the decision with the most complete information possible,” says UNC head coach Roy Williams. “Justin is a terrific player and an even finer young man and he’s going to be a big part of our basketball team next year.”

Following the NBA Draft Combine the writing was pretty much on the wall regarding Jackson's pro prospects. His performance in Chicago didn't help his stock and drew some tough reviews from draft analysis sites like Draft Express. As we noted this morning, if Jackson did opt to end his college career now he would be taking a long, tough road to the NBA given it was unlikely he would even be drafted.

With his return, UNC will have three of its five starters back with Isaiah Hicks stepping into Brice Johnson's slot and Theo Pinson presumably ready to start at wing guard. The losses of Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson will be keenly felt but the returning Tar Heels will be experienced and talented which is exactly how Roy Williams likes it.