Kentucky forward Isaiah Jackson to declare for NBA Draft, eligible to return

Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky) gets up for a block vs. Vanderbilt
Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky) gets up for a block vs. Vanderbilt(Photo: UK Athletics)
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 8:09 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - In a statement released by the University of Kentucky Wednesday night, freshman forward Isaiah Jackson announced that he will be entering the NBA Draft.

Jackson will go through the NBA’s draft evaluation process and does not plan to hire an agent. He still has the option to sign with an NCAA-certified agent, receive feedback, and return to Kentucky.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dates for the NBA Draft, NBA Combine, and NCAA eligibility have not yet been set, thus there is no current deadline for Jackson to make a final decision.

“Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine growing up. It has always been something that, with the right opportunity, I would pursue. I would like to thank God for giving me the strength and ability to play the game I truly love. I want to thank my family and my friends for being there for me through thick and thin. And I would also like to thank Coach Cal, the staff, and the Big Blue Nation for the privilege to play at Kentucky and for the opportunity to pursue this dream. No matter what I ultimately decide, this place will always hold a special place in my heart. With that being said, I will be entering the 2021 NBA Draft without an agent and testing the waters. I am looking forward to the process and seeing what my future holds. I appreciate all the support in making this decision and I want to thank everybody who has been with me since day one.”

UK freshman forward Isaiah Jackson

Jackson is the first player from the 2020-21 team to declare for the draft.

“Isaiah made unbelievable strides to put himself in a position to test the waters,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He grew throughout the year and became more confident on both ends of the floor. He has a tremendous ability as a defensive player and really grew and developed his offensive game as the season wore on. I am anxious to see how this process plays out for him. I wish him nothing but the best, and he and his family know they have my full support with whatever they decide. If he does come back, I will be really excited about coaching him, but I know it is in his best interest to pursue this opportunity and process.”

Jackson average 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in 25 games with Kentucky, including 18 starts. He finished with double figures in points in all but the last game of the 2020-21 season.

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