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John Calipari and Isaiah Jackson comment on NBA Draft decision

“I can’t wait to see what he does at that next level.”

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After initially testing the NBA Draft process, Kentucky forward Isaiah Jackson announced Friday that he’ll remain in the draft.

“Thank you to everyone – my family, Coach Cal, the staff and Big Blue Nation – who has supported me and rooted for me throughout my collegiate career,” Jackson said. “I appreciate you sticking with me to the end. The journey is not over, but it is time to take the next path. I am going to be signing with CAA and will be forgoing my remaining college eligibility to fully prepare for my professional career. Thank you, BBN. I will always love you and rock with you. One love!”

Jackson initially declared for the NBA Draft in mid-March but left the option open to return to school. Though he wasn’t fully committed to the draft right away, it was widely believed he’d ultimately remain in it, especially with every NBA Mock Draft projecting him as a first-round pick. Some even have him going in the lottery.

“I’m happy for Isaiah and his family,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a press release. “Seeing his growth this season was amazing. His metrics are off the charts. Whoever drafts Isaiah is going to get an unbelievable defender who can guard multiple positions and protect the rim. Offensively, we saw his game really start to take off at the end of the season. The team that gets Isaiah is going to be surprised because he has only begun to scratch the surface on who he is going to be as a player. I can’t wait to see what he does at that next level. We wish him well.”

In his lone season as a Wildcat, Jackson averaged 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in 25 games (18 starts). Over his final seven games, Jackson averaged 13.3 points and 6.9 boards per game while shooting 63.3% from the floor during that span.

Jackson’s biggest impact often came on the defensive end, where he was one of the nation’s top shot-blockers at 2.6 per game, which led the SEC and ranked 15th nationally.

Looking ahead, Jackson joins Brandon Boston Jr. and Olivier Sarr permanently in the 2021 draft pool. Davion Mintz has also declared for the draft but has not made a final decision while he goes through the draft evaluation process. Mintz will have until July 7 (10 days after the NBA Draft Combine) to make a final decision as to whether he wishes to remain in the draft or return to Kentucky.