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North Carolina junior Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft

The Tar Heels’ best player is officially going pro.

Gonzaga v North Carolina Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In a move that really isn’t a surprise to anyone, junior Justin Jackson will be heading to the NBA and hiring an agent. This, of course, means that there is no chance he will return to Chapel Hill the way he did after testing the NBA waters last season.

There weren’t a whole lot of people who believed Jackson would stay for his senior year at Carolina after his incredible season, earning ACC Player of the Year honors and helping his team bring home a national championship to Chapel Hill. He took the advice he received from the NBA last year, and seemed to make all of it happen in his third season as a Tar Heel.

Jackson set a Carolina record for three pointers in the championship season with 105 made from long distance. He was second among Tar Heels in assists with 113, and averaged a career-high 4.7 rebounds per game. His improvement beyond the arc was incredible to watch, becoming the team’s biggest threat from three.

On the Tar Heels’ way to the championship, Jackson led the team with 19.5 points per tournament game, and finishes his career with 239 points in the NCAA Tournament. That figure is good enough for second all time in Carolina history. Scoring aside, the incredible defense he played throughout the tournament really helped Carolina make it to the very end. Without his ability to contain some of the best scorers in the country like Malik Monk and Tyler Dorsey, the season may have ended very differently for UNC.

What Jackson and the other 2016-2017 Tar Heels accomplished will live forever among the great teams in Tar Heel history. We will definitely miss his sharp shooting and that beautiful floater that seemed near-automatic. Now he gets to go out a champion. Best of luck at the next level, JJ.