Jaren Jackson Jr. Declares for NBA Draft, Will Sign with Agent
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State freshman men’s basketball student-athlete Jaren Jackson Jr. will submit his name for the 2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft and forgo his final three years of eligibility. He plans to sign with an agent.
As the son of NBA Champion Jaren Jackson (San Antonio, 1999), Jaren Jr. understands and believes he is up to the challenge of playing in the NBA. His one year at Michigan State left quite an impression on the Spartan freshman, driving him to offer the following thoughts to his supporters.
"Michigan State is an amazing place. And this has been an amazing year —from the time I hit the campus in June for summer workouts and summer school until now. I never imagined it would be like this. Never. Playing for Coach Izzo and the rest of the staff has been incredible. They’ve helped me develop so much, both on and off the court. After only one year, I know my memories are few but they will never be forgotten: football games, late night study group and early morning study hall at the Smith Center, the Breslin and the mighty Izzone, the PK80 title, the outright Big Ten Championship, and being recognized as Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the B1G. Please know that nothing was lost on me. Still, nothing is bigger than the bond I have with my teammates. These guys are my family. They will always be my brothers.
"Spartans, this was not an automatic decision. And honestly, thank you for making it one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to think about. While playing in the NBA was always my dream and desire, I did not know the opportunity would present itself in quite this way. I’m ready to live my dreams and I cannot pass it up. Therefore, the time has come to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft.
"Even though I will no longer play for MSU, I will ALWAYS be a Spartan! I will finish my studies and I will kiss the Spartan helmet on the Breslin court.
Jackson enjoyed a spectacular freshman season at MSU, capped off by being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. He was just the second player in Big Ten history to win both Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season (Ohio State’s Greg Oden in 2007).
“I’m so proud of Jaren and excited for him as he takes the next step in his basketball career,” said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. “He was a tremendous talent when he first stepped on campus, but when I think about the way he’s improved so much in just one year, especially defensively and with the ball, the sky’s the limit on what he can accomplish. There’s no question he could be one of the first few players selected in the draft.
“Jaren’s a great young man who was an absolute joy to coach. He loved being a part of this team and Michigan State University. Everyone knows what he achieved on the court with his blocked shots record and earning Big Ten Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year honors, but they should also know that his success in the classroom was just as great. Furthermore, the way he handles himself with class off the court will serve him well as a professional. He has a great support system in place with his terrific parents, and I look forward to him having a long productive NBA career.”
Jackson finished fifth on the team in scoring with 10.9 points per game and led the Spartans with 3.03 blocked shots per game, which ranked first in the Big Ten Conference and No. 7 nationally. Jackson was also third on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game, averaged 1.1 assists and connected on 39.6 percent of his 3-pointers (38-of-96).
He finished the season with 106 blocked shots, establishing a new MSU single-season record, and tied the MSU single-game record with eight blocked shots against Rutgers on Dec. 5. Jackson accounted for 42.2 percent of Michigan State’s blocked shots this year as the Spartans set a school record with 251 rejections.
Jackson, who was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times during the season, recorded six double-doubles this year and scored in double figures 25 times.
In addition to being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Jackson was also selected to the All-Big Ten Third Team and was a unanimous selection to the All-Freshman Team.
Michigan State finished the season with a 30-5 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big Ten Regular Season title.