According to a report from Jon Rothstein of Fan Rag Sports, Maryland rising sophomore Justin Jackson will forego the 2017 NBA Draft and return to College Park for at least one more season. This is massive news for Terp fans everywhere and should have a major impact on the Big Ten as a whole.
Maryland was one of the Big Ten's most pleasant surprises last season. Despite losing so many key pieces, the Terrapins found a win to go 24-9 overall and make it to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season. It was one of the most important years of head coach Mark Turgeon's tenure with the school.
Jackson, of course, was a major part of that success. As a true freshman, he averaged 10.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game. Jackson also had some impressive games down the stretch, scoring double-digits in three of the team's final six games.
As a recruit, Jackson arrived on campus with a great deal of attention. He was rated as a four-star prospect by 247Sports and was viewed by many as the best prospect in an impressive 2016 class for Maryland. With his unique combination of athleticism and size, most figured he would make an immediate impact for the Terrapins.
With Jackson’s return, Maryland now projects as one of the stronger teams in next year’s Big Ten. There will be questions in the backcourt with Melo Trimble departing for the NBA, but the team still has a lot of youth and talent return.
If Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter can transition from productive freshmen into quality starters, Jackson should provide the punch to push Maryland into the top-tier of next year’s Big Ten. Maryland can’t match what Michigan State has on its roster, but the Terps should be able to hang with everyone else.
The Big Ten will still have to wait for some major decisions over the next day, but Maryland fans can at least be excited about getting some good news. Jackson is a huge piece for next year’s team and should vault the Terps into next year’s NCAA Tournament.