Justin Jackson and Dion Wiley each announced plans that move them away from College Park on Wednesday.
Justin Jackson announced that he would be declaring for the NBA Draft and hiring an agent. This announcement came from Jonathan Givnoy of ESPN:
In a statement to ESPN Jackson detailed why this was the right decision and his feelings for Maryland.
“After talking with my family and weighing my options, it’s my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball,” Jackson told ESPN. “I loved my teammates, many of them will be my brothers for life, and I will truly cherish the times I had playing in College Park. I also want to extend my appreciation to our great fans and all the support they showed for me. I will be a Terp for life.”
Jackson had an outstanding freshman season where he averaged 15 points and six rebounds per game. This landed him on many NBA Draft boards, but he ultimately decided to return back to Maryland. A torn labrum kept his number down, and ultimately season-ending surgery put him on the sideline for good.
Assuming he can come back strong from his injury and prove to scouts he is the same player from his Freshman season, there is no doubt that Jackson could be a late-round draft steal.
The other major news was that Junior Dion Wiley announced plans to transfer from Maryland ahead of next season. This was announced by Roman Stubbs of the Washington Post:
Wiley had a rather up and down year, but most notably fans will just remember flashbacks of his miscommunication during the Big Ten Tournament that ended any hopes Maryland had of dancing in March.
It is unclear where Wiley anticipates to transfer, but his departure does leave Ivan bender as the sole rising senior on Maryland’s roster.
The departures of Jackson and Wiley will really open up the lane for incoming Freshman Aaron Wiggins to shine. At 6 foot 6 and 180 pounds he could split time at small forward or shooting guard to compliment of backup Kevin Huerter.
Jackson and Wiley leaving, along with the graduations of Michal Cekovsky and Sean Obi, opens up an extra scholarship for Mark Turgeon to possibly grab another graduate transfer. It remains unclear if that is an idea of his, but veteran leadership could never hurt.