Jan 1, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats forward Justin Jackson (5) reacts after getting a basket and a foul during the first half of the game against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Fifth Third Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bearcats Announce Justin Jackson Will Participate In Portsmouth Invitational

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Graduating Cincinnati Bearcats power forward Justin Jackson is embarking on a wild couple of months. He’ll be simultaneously working to get his degree and prepping for the NBA Draft. As such it’s encouraging to hear that Jackson will participate in the Portsmouth Invitational, per UC’s official website, in Portsmouth, Virginia. The UC big man is one of 64 seniors invited to the event.

Jackson did a nice job his senior year, averaging 11.1 points, 7.3 boards, and 2.9 blocks last season, but had an up-and-down career at Cincinnati. He effectively disappeared as a junior despite showing an uptick in contributions from his freshman to sophomore seasons. Plus his free throw shooting was poor and overall field goal percentage for a big man was below average. So it’s probably unlikely that Jackson will get his name called in the first round on June 26th but he still has an outside shot of being drafted in the second round.

Thus, playing in the Portsmouth Invitational will only help his prospects of playing basketball at the professional level be it in the US (likely D-League to start) or internationally. There will be several scouts at the event who will likely marvel at Justin Jackson’s defensive abilities (always important) and overall energy on the floor. Somebody’s going to be able to find a need for him and hopefully his participation in the Portsmouth Invitational boosts those chances.

The full press release is below:

University of Cincinnati senior forward Justin Jackson will be participating in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament April 16-19 at the Churchland High School Sports Complex in Portsmouth, Va.

Jackson is one of 64 seniors in the nation taking part in the four-day, 12-game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA team. Jackson will compete on the Portsmouth Sports Club which plays Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

A native of Cocoa Beach, Fla., Jackson averaged 11.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.6 steals for the Bearcats during the 2014 season. Jackson was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, was a finalist for the National Defensive Player of the Year Award and was selected to the Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team.

Jackson led the conference and ranked 19th in the nation in blocks (99) during his senior season. He ranked second in the league and 38th in the nation in blocks and was seventh in the conference in steals.

Jackson’s 99 blocks in 2014 ranked third on UC’s single-season chart. He finished his career with 215 blocks – fourth most at Cincinnati.

Jackson helped lead the Bearcats to a share of the American’s regular-season title, a 27-7 overall record and the program’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. Along with senior guard Sean Kilpatrick, Jackson helped the Bearcats win 101 games during his four-year career – second most in school history (Steve Logan 111 from 1999-2002).

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