Following last night's Elite 8 loss to North Carolina, Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey indicated to reporters that his junior point guard, Demetrius Jackson, will declare for the NBA draft and participate in the pre-draft process.
New NBA rules allow prospects to fully participate in the Chicago combine in mid-May (and go through one team workout) before they must make a final decision on their draft status by May 25th. Prospects that do not hire an agent, which will likely be the case for Jackson for now, can decide to return to school or remain in the draft.
For his part, Jackson declined to answer any questions about his future, saying instead that he will be making those decisions at a later date.
Jackson projects as a likely first round pick in this year's draft, with mock drafts generally placing him anywhere from the late lottery to the early 20s. This year, Providence's Kris Dunn and Kentucky's Jamal Murray (if you consider him a point guard) are the only point guards expected to go in the top 10. Should he ultimately leave, Jackson will likely be competing with the likes of Kentucky's Tyler Ulis, Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin IV, and Washington's Dejounte Murray as the third point guard in this draft.
All of that is to say that this is a particularly weak draft for point guards, which could very well tip the scales for Jackson in favor of leaving with his one year of eligibility remaining. This year's crop of high school seniors has a very strong core of guard prospects at the top that could very well push Jackson down to the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, even if he were to have a strong senior season.
Update (3/30): Of course, as 4pointshooter posted in the comments, Demetrius Jackson declared his intention to enter the NBA draft late last night, with multiple reporters confirming that he will be hiring an agent rather than simply "testing the waters". Honestly, I think this was inevitable and a terrific decision by Jackson. It is time.
This could also be a good thing long-term for Notre Dame in recruiting, having not just another draft pick (and probably the highest one in a long time) but a player leaving early with the unwavering support of his coach. Notre Dame hoops, like the football program, is a competitive program on-the-court, provides a great education, and can lead you to the NBA. Jackson is the best example of all of those things.