Many Duke fans were stunned when Frank Jackson put his name in the NBA Draft. Most others felt that he was just taking advantage of the rule that allows a player to put his name in the draft, receive feedback, and would ultimately return to school.
It appears more and more that Jackson could keep his name in the NBA Draft. Adam Zagoria tweeted this earlier:
Wouldn’t be surprised to see Duke’s Frank Jackson sign w/ an agent. “I think he’s gonna get drafted in the first round” – @franfraschilla
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 8, 2017
Fran deals a lot with the NBA Draft so he could be hearing things from teams that makes him feel that way. In fact this is from ESPN’s 2017 NBA Draft Combine Media Call with Fran Fraschilla & Jeff Goodman:
Q. I’m out here in Provo, Utah, and wanted to ask about a couple guys with local ties who are underclassmen who have declared but haven’t hired agent, BYU’s Eric Mika and Duke’s Frank Jackson, thoughts on them and where they’re standing at this point?
FRASCHILLA: Yeah, two Alpine High School kids. Mika is an interesting kid because he’s not your typical sophomore because he’s really a senior age-wise, so you kind of get it. He came off a really good year. I watched him play, I talked to people out in the conference and even Mark Few compared him to the type of player that Domantas Sabonis was. I get why he would put his name in, and I get why — even if he was a second-round pick he might stay in, because he’s really an older sophomore. There’s no doubt about that.
And I like him personally. I like him as a second-round pick. I think he’s going to be an NBA player. He does struggle to score over length, but most of these big kids in this draft do, because of the league they’re going into. But he’s got toughness, he’s got great hands. He’s an excellent rebounder, plays with a mean streak, which you need in that league, so I think he’s going to play in the league.
I’m a Frank Jackson fan from this point of view. First of all, there’s a dynamic there that Jeff can really touch on, too, with Duke this coming year with Trevon Duval goes on and signs with Duke, which it’s heading in that direction. But Frank played — actually played really well in the second half of the year in what I would describe as a dysfunctional Duke season because of the injuries, particularly and the suspension to Grayson Allen. Frank is a kid, because of his athleticism and shooting ability, that will be eventually, in my opinion, a good NBA player, not necessarily an All-Star, he may not go in the first round, but I personally like his long-term opportunity to play in the league because he’s such a young freshman and because he’s showed glimpses of the player he was in high school and on the AAU circuit, when many of us said he’s one of the top-10 players in the country. Both of those guys I think will be NBA players, if not later than sooner.
GOODMAN: The NBA guys I talked to felt like Mika would be a mid-second rounder. Almost all of them said he should come back to school, but like Fran said, he turns 23 in January, so that’s probably the issue. If there’s an issue of him leaving now, it would be that, and he was super productive last year on, as Fran said, a dysfunctional Duke team. BYU is fairly dysfunctional, too. Does he want to come out now? I think he comes back. And Frank Jackson is a tough decision, because as Fran said, Duke is probably going to get Trevon Duval. He’s the best point guard in the country, he’s a scoring point who’s better equipped to play the point than Frank. If they get him, how worrisome is that for Frank Jackson, and also the other part is does Grayson Allen coming back to school, did that hurt Frank Jackson’s decision to come back to Duke, because it’s going to be Grayson’s show again to some degree, and now Frank is probably worried about his role, will it expand at all potentially next year with Grayson back, with Duval, with the freshman class that they’ve got coming in, which is, again, very, very good. Most NBA guys, almost all of them told me Frank should come back. He’s a second rounder right now who has a good chance to become a first-rounder in time. May not be next year, he may be a four-year player, but don’t worry about rushing out of there, he can become a first-round pick, a guy that’s a guaranteed first-round pick for the most part, if he’s patient and works on his game.
FRASCHILLA: And I would take the flipside of that and say that a year ago Frank Jackson was one of the most coveted recruits in the country, and he does — he’s got three things going for him: He’s athletic, he’s got a long wingspan — that’s in the same thing there, athleticism. He’s young because he played the entire season, and he hasn’t even — I think he just turned 19. And then the one thing teams will covet is he shoots the — I was going to say the wrong thing, but he shoots the ball really well. If you take him with the 43rd pick, you have a 19-year-old shooter in a league that covets athleticism and shooting, and even if he’s up and down with your D-League team for a couple years, I think that kid, when he’s 24 or 25 years old, is going to be a solid NBA rotation player.
Whether he goes first round in three years or out this year as a mid-second-round pick, it wouldn’t shock me if he starts his NBA career sooner rather than later because of the dynamic at Duke.
While Frank is not listed in DraftExpress.com’s most recent mock draft, there has been a feeling that Utah could select him with the final pick in the first round. In fact in his most recent mock draft, Andy Bailey, who covers the Utah Jazz for Bleacher Report, has Jackson going #30 to the Utah Jazz.
Frank will be attending the NBA Draft Combine and participating in 5-on-5. The combine runs from May 9 – May 14th.
Jackson has until May 25th to remove his name from the Draft.