While his big decision is in the air – to return or not to return to UConn – Jackson doesn’t see it that way.
On Wednesday he suggested his future. The goal is to find a team that really does I want his. He wants to be a first-round pick, and if he feels he deserves it in the combine, Jackson is doomed to the NBA.
“It’s really not that hard man, it’s really just what I go and do,” he told The Courant after attending Wednesday’s game. “What I go and show these teams (is what) I can bring to the table and how much they value it. That’s all. I spoke to coach (Dan) Hurley – it’s all about getting out there and performing. It’s not about me making the decision to come back or leave. It’s not about that at all. It’s about what I’m going to do here in the next two days, he’ll tell me. The answer will be very obvious. When all this is said and done, it will be very obvious.”
“It’s all based on my performance.”
His performances so far have been impressive.
Andre Jackson impressing the entire court in the NBA Draft Combined with his passing, screen and defensive versatility. I even hit the 3rd place for good measure. pic.twitter.com/iz1ZpxxQrH
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2023
Monday was the day most expected him to dominate. One of the most eye-catching athletes in the draft, measurable and training are his way. He then did what he does best on Wednesday, influencing a brawl with other top contenders without having to score, showing off his passing and controlling skills and defensive fortitude.
He met the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday morning and says he has four or five games scheduled for Thursday, with Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls among others.
“The interviews were amazing, something I really enjoy doing, sitting down with some really tall basketball players who really know their game, know what they’re talking about, know what they’re watching,” he said. “Being able to talk about my game, things they see, some weaknesses where I could be better, some things they like. I really just really talk about basketball, which is one of my favorite things to do.”
Jackson, his harshest critic, felt he had a “bumpy start” on Monday in some live practice, but eventually got comfortable and performed better than expected in shooting practice.
A large turnout from NBA executives to see UConn’s Andre Jackson at Roc Nation Pro Day at the NBA Draft Combine tonight. pic.twitter.com/I3NuD8VzOy
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 16, 2023
“It was definitely a great day, some good, some bad,” he said, “but definitely more good than bad.”
Jackson said the teams he spoke to expressed appreciation for his style of play and the value he brings to the team.
“Teams are definitely taking me into account and looking at me as a guy who can really (make) an impact right away, especially on defense,” he said. “It’s great to sit down and talk to these guys, hear their opinions and hear what they think about my game, honestly. Because as a player who is more of a defender, you can’t always have that glory.
These interviews with team scouts and directors don’t intimidate Jackson.
They feel mutual respect. That the teams that bring him in understand his personality and appreciate the way he plays basketball. It goes in like a sponge, trying to absorb as much as it can, then lets the sponge squeeze out, letting its own perspective and mentality flow.
It’s the same perspective that allowed him to win the hearts of UConn fans during his three years with Storrs.
Full of adrenaline after leading the Husky to a national championship win, Jackson said yes wanted to restart it and win another one. However, after some thought and conversations with people close to him, he decided that he had applied for the 2023 NBA Draft – at least give it a try, test the waters and listen to feedback.
Now the court will decide on his decision.
“It’s really about how I play,” he said. “If I go out there and perform at a level where people really want me, then I will go. That’s how I look at it. It’s just about the way I perform and the level at which I perform. I want to be a first-round pick, so I’m trying to perform like a first-round pick and earn that spot.
Jackson said he wasn’t sure if he would need a first-round guarantee to stay in the draft. The deadline by which he can pull out his name and return to college is May 31.