The Eagles star is getting mixed signals from the NBA. Some GMs think he's a lottery pick. Others see a late first or early second-round talent at best. That uncertainty has put Jackson in the precarious position of hoping he can impress the unimpressed by Sunday's draft deadline. To do so, he'll have to play well this weekend in a large workout in New Jersey, where he'll be among the best players, if not the best, in the gym.
With such a short time frame to make his decision -- note to the NCAA: this is where the whole "testing the waters" thing kind of comes in handy -- Jackson's next few days could be make or break.
Thing is, unless his planned workout goes worse than anyone could imagine, Jackson is likely better off remaining in the draft. Frankly, he should probably stay no matter what.
There are two reasons for this. One, as Chad wrote at the link above, is Jackson's likely ability to impress scouts in workouts and the NBA draft combine in the next few months. But arguably the most important reason is the situation Jackson would return to if he decided to come back to school.
That "situation" is the rebuilding Boston College Eagles in their second year under Steve Donahue. Simply put: It's going to be a tough season in BC. The Eagles lost four senior starters from last season's offensively brilliant and defensively inept team: Joe Trapani, Corey Raji, Josh Southern and Biko Paris, all carryovers from the Al Skinner era, will all be gone in 2011-12. (That's also true of senior reserves John Cahill and Cortney Dunn.) What's left is a team that will rely heavily on Oregon transfer Matt Humphrey -- who averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game as a sophomore with the Ducks -- and a deep but unproven group of freshman recruits.
One of those recruits, forward Ryan Anderson, is a top 100 prospect ranked No. 17 at his position in the class of 2011. There are nice players in this mix. In a down ACC, Boston College might not be totally horrible.
Jackson is a fantastic player, one of the best and most efficient offensive players in the country at any position in 2011. Sure, he would make the Eagles better. Yes, he would get a lot of shots. But how much of a boost to his draft stock would that really lend? What if the losses of his longtime teammates cause a decline in performance? What if his team is so bad NBA scouts take notice in a negative way?
No matter how you break it down -- as SCACCHoops did this week -- the returning roster is not one that inspires much confidence in BC's ability to get to the NCAA tournament in 2012. Jackson might be the difference between 10 wins and 15, but that's a lot to ask of a player with a pro future on his doorstep. This team is rebuilding, and it might be better for Jackson if he skipped that process entirely.