COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon announced Wednesday that sophomore forward Justin Jackson will forgo his final two seasons of college eligibility to enter his name in the 2018 NBA Draft. In addition, redshirt junior guard Dion Wiley will graduate in May and transfer from the program for his final season of eligibility.
Jackson spent two seasons with Maryland, averaging 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in 44 career games with 40 starts. Jackson, who will hire an agent, had an outstanding freshman campaign where he led the Terps in three-point shooting (.438) and rebounding (6.0) while finishing second on the team in scoring (10.5).
“Justin had an outstanding freshman season, and we were excited to build upon the success that he had heading into his sophomore year,” said Turgeon. “He was making great strides over the summer and early in the fall, but unfortunately sustained a season-ending injury. Justin has progressed well after surgery, and in our discussions with him and his family, he has expressed his desire to pursue a professional basketball career. We’ll continue to support Justin through this transition. Justin is a very talented individual, and we wish him the best moving forward both personally and professionally.”
Jackson helped Maryland to its best start in school history in 2016-17, pacing Maryland to a 20-2 record to open the season and an appearance in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. He was tabbed a preseason All-Big Ten entering his sophomore campaign, but his season was cut short abruptly, when he suffered a torn labrum. Prior to undergoing season-ending surgery, he only saw action in 11 games but still averaged 9.8 points with a team-best 8.1 rebounds.
“I want to thank Coach Turgeon and his staff for making this such a great experience over the past two years,” said Jackson. “I feel like I really grew as a player and a person under coach Turgeon’s guidance. I came from Canada, a different country, and Maryland became my second home. This certainly was not an easy decision for me, as I felt like we had some unfinished business because of my injury. After talking with my family and weighing my options, it’s my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball. I love my teammates, many of them will be my brothers for life, and I will truly cherish the times I had playing in College Park. I also want to extend my appreciation to our great fans and all the support they showed for me. I will be a Terp for life.”
Wiley appeared in 83 career games, and was a member of three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament under Turgeon. His best season came this past year, as he averaged a career-high 5.8 points per game while shooting .418 from the field. He finished in double figures in five games for the Terps throughout the year, including a season-high 13 in Maryland’s win over Northwestern on February 13.
“I’m very proud of Dion and the tremendous strides he’s made over the past four years at Maryland,” said Turgeon. “He’s graduating with a degree in American Studies and I’m really happy for Dion. The unfortunate thing is that Dion had to endure so many injuries, but he never complained and just continued to work to get back on the basketball court. I’m confident that he will have success. Dion expressed a desire to play a prominent role for a program in a different area. We all want what’s best for Dion, and we wish him much success in his final season of collegiate eligibility.”
Prior to the start of his junior season Wiley suffered a season-ending injury and redshirted during the 2015-16 season. In his final season with the Terps, Wiley played in 28 games and missed four contests due to injury or illness.
“Playing at Maryland was a dream come true for me,” said Wiley. “I owe a great deal to Coach Turgeon, the assistant coaches, our training staff, and the academic support unit for helping me during my time in College Park. I’m proud of graduating with a degree in May, and I’m excited for what the future holds. This was a difficult decision because Maryland is my home, but I’m looking forward to a new opportunity. I’ll always be grateful to Coach Turgeon and the staff for sticking with me and always believing in me. I love my teammates, wish them the best and plan to stay connected to the program.”