The NBA Draft Combine begins Thursday in Chicago, and NBA scouts will be watching every step taken by the 67 players invited.
The Longhorns will be represented by Jarrett Allen and Andrew Jones, a pair of freshmen facing very different scenarios. We already know Allen isn’t coming back to Texas, while Jones is one of 14 players at the combine who still could return to school.
ESPN recently spoke to multiple NBA executives about those 14, and the execs concluded that Jones should come back to the 40 Acres.
According to ESPN he’s projected to be drafted at pick No. 45 or below — and possibly not at all. Here’s what they said about him after talking to the NBA brass.
He struggled, but so did the entire Longhorns team last season. The 6-foot-4 freshman was forced to play out of position at times, but next season coach Shaka Smart will have a true point guard in Matt Coleman. That will allow Jones to be able to play off the ball, and he should also have someone to help get him easier looks. Jones averaged 11.4 PPG, but he needs to become a more consistent shooter from deep. Jones will probably return to Austin.
Of course, Jones still has this week to show executives and scouts why he’s worth drafting. At the very least, he should get a forthright evaluation that will help him make the right decision.
Jones is taking advantage of a rare NCAA rule that actually makes perfect sense, but it does leave Texas coach Shaka Smart and Longhorns fans in a bit of limbo. Between Jones and five-star recruit Mohamed Bamba, there’s certainly enough stress to go around.
Maybe we’ll all feel a little better after watching this clip of Jones’ buzzer-beater against Oklahoma a few times.
Or … not? It’s complicated.
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