Two Big 12 players made a list of 2021 NBA Draft Early Risers put together by The Rebound’s Rob Dauster.
Those players — Kansas forward Jalen Wilson and Texas Forward Kai Jones — are in their second year in college basketball and preparing to resume Big 12 action this week.
Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward who redshirted last season due to an injury, is the Jayhawks’ second-leading scorer with 14.6 points per game. He also leads the Jayhawks with 7.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 38.1 percent from the 3-point line.
Wilson has had some of his best games against top-flight opponents, such has his 23-point game against Kentucky the second week of the season, and his double-double against Creighton. In his final game before the holiday break, Wilson had 17 points and 7 rebounds against Top 10 West Virginia.
Dauster points out that Wilson’s play during the full Big 12 schedule may determine whether Wilson leaves early for the 2021 NBA Draft.
Jones, a 6-foot-11 forward, enters Big 12 action this week with averages of 8.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He’s averaging nearly an assist per game and shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor. Jones is also averaging 1.1 blocked shots per game.
Jones played in 27 games last year as a true freshman and averaged 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. So the improvement is evident. His emergence as a potential first-round pick is similar to that of former Texas forward Jaxson Hayes two seasons ago. Hayes, who was also 6-foot-11, emerged as a solid center for the Longhorns, averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds as a true freshman before declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft. Hayes went from relative unknown to the No. 8 overall pick.
Dauster believes that because of Jones’ size and potential ceiling at the NBA level that he could slide into the first round, should he decide to leave school early. Jones is not a stick-to-the-paint forward, either. Dauster shows off Jones’ ability to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket in several videos attached to the story.
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