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For Frank Jackson and his family, the process has been arduous, and the decision has been difficult.

But in the end, Jackson decided to follow his dream.

The Duke University freshman and former Lone Peak High superstar — the most recent Utahn to be a McDonald's All-American — declared for the NBA draft on Saturday night. Jackson will not hire an agent and will go through the pre-draft process before making a final decision on his collegiate eligibility.

"Frank has always wanted to be in the NBA," his father, Al, told The Tribune in a phone interview. "He went to Duke for a variety of reasons, and we absolutely made the right decision. If he had gone anywhere else, we wouldn't have had to struggle with this decision. Frank would've been a one-and-done player with no doubt."

Jackson averaged 10.9 points per game in his first season as a Blue Devil. He played in 36 of Duke's 37 games, making 16 starts. He finished with 61 assists and 49 turnovers for the season, shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 75.5 from the free-throw line.

Jackson informed Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski of his decision to test the waters on Saturday night, after informing the NBA of his intentions. Al Jackson described the conversation with Krzyzewski as positive.

"The door is definitely open for Frank to return," Al Jackson said. "Frank still may very well go back."

The family said they received feedback from the NBA and a variety of league sources, and enough teams expressed interest for Jackson to throw his name in the draft.

"It's clear to us enough teams consider Frank an NBA player," Al Jackson said. "He has superior athleticism, he has high character and he has a high basketball IQ."

Al Jackson said his son — who starred at Lone Peak for three seasons after attending Lehi as a freshman — has long been a Utah Jazz fan and hopes to secure a pre-draft workout with the organization. Jackson also hopes for an invite to the NBA's pre-draft combine, which will be held in Chicago in May.

Twitter: @tribjazz