NBA draft forecast favorable for ND's Auguste, Jackson

IRISH STEW

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Twenty-three years passed since the Notre Dame men’s basketball program had two players selected in the same NBA draft, a streak that was snapped Thursday when Jerian Grant (first round) and Pat Connaughton (second round) each heard their names called in the two-round, 60-selection process.

It might be way fewer than 23 months – say about 12 – before that happens again for an Irish program coming off a 32-6 season.

Two current Irish – junior guard Demetrius Jackson and senior power forward Zach Auguste – are projected by Draft Express to go in the 2016 NBA draft.

Jackson, who has two years of eligibility remaining and has given zero indication that he would bypass his senior year, is projected as a Top 13 pick. Notre Dame has not had a plyer selected inside the NBA draft lottery (top 14) since All-American power forward Troy Murphy went No. 14 to the Golden State Warriors in 2001.

ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford opined earlier this month that no current or former college player made a better decision – to stay in school or go pro - heading into the 2015 NBA draft than Jackson, who never seriously considering leaving after his sophomore season.

Jackson is coming off a bust-out season in which he earned for most improved player consideration in the Atlantic Coast Conference after averaging 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 34.7 minutes. He started all 38 games.

Auguste, who also never seriously considered leaving with a year of eligibility remaining, is projected as a second-round pick, No. 60 overall, by Draft Express. Like Jackson, Auguste had a break-out winter. He averaged 12.9 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 61.9 percent from the field, second-best in the ACC. Auguste was at his best in the NCAA tournament in averaging 16.7 points and 8.2 rebounds in four games.

NBAdraft.net has Auguste going to the Chicago Bulls at No. 52. It does not have Jackson among the 2016 mock draft.

Should Jackson ultimately declare for the 2016 draft and he and Auguste are selected, it would mark the first time that multiple Irish are selected in consecutive NBA drafts since 1980 and 1981.

Notre Dame power forward Zach Auguste (30) and guard Demetrius Jackson (11) are on the radar of NBA teams far in advance of the 2016 draft.AP File Photo/GERRY BROOME