Texas' Andrew Jones, left, celebrates scoring against Eastern Washington with Jarrett Allen during a NCAA college basketball game at the Frank Erwin Center Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

BEVO BEAT Men's Basketball

Jarrett Allen, Andrew Jones rise in latest NBA DraftExpress ‘Top 100’

Posted May 8th, 2017

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The NBA draft is getting closer, and Texas players Jarrett Allen and Andrew Jones are getting closer to being selected in the NBA draft.

The latest DraftExpress “Top 100 Prospects” list released Monday, and both Longhorns made big moves in the right direction. Allen rose a whopping 30 spots to No. 11, while Jones is ranked No. 45 on the list — 14 spots ahead of where he was in February.

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Allen has been a fixture in most mock drafts released since he declared for the draft, with most analysts projecting the 6-foot-11 Austin native to be selected in the first round. Allen hired an agent in the past few weeks, meaning he is no longer eligible to return to Texas and will be entering the draft.

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The real mystery is Jones. As a freshman last season, the 6-foot-4 combo guard from Irving averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 turnovers in 27.9 minutes per game. He scored a season-high 18 points against Kansas on Feb. 25. He surprised some by declaring for the draft, but has not hired an agent and could still return to Texas.

Jones was one of 67 players — along with Allen — invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which takes place Thursday and Friday in Chicago. That will be a huge opportunity for Jones to prove his worth to NBA scouts, and potentially solidify his standing as a top-50 prospect. If that happens, it would be hard to blame him for turning pro.

RELATED: Jarrett Allen, Andrew Jones both invited to NBA Draft combine

If Jones does leave, it would be a big blow for Texas as it attempts to bounce back from a terrible 11-22 campaign. Longhorns coach Shaka Smart is bringing in a talented group of recruits, including four-star point guard Matt Coleman, and is still working on landing five-star power forward Mohamed Bamba.

He’d still very much like to have Jones, a proven scorer, to add to that bunch. Starved Texas basketball fans would, too, which will make these next few weeks important ones.

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