Texas forward Kai Jones declared for the 2021 NBA Draft on Wednesday, after spending just two seasons with the Texas Longhorns.
Jones made the announcement on Twitter. Unlike West Virginia guard Sean McNeil, who declared on Tuesday, Jones did not leave the door open to return, saying that he intends to hire and agent.
Jones improved greatly during his sophomore campaign in Austin, averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Jones was named by the Big 12 coaches as its Sixth Man of the Year.
His numbers were up from 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game his freshman year. The 6-foot-11 forward also emerged as a solid 3-point shooter (38.2 percent) and improved his ball handling on the perimeter.
Jones loses his final two years of eligibility as a result of his decision.
But Jones has seen his star rise among NBA scouts this season, and some expect him to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie rates Jones as the No. 9 overall prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft, which would make him a lottery pick.
His rise mimics that of former Longhorns forward Jaxson Hayes, who in one year went from relative unknown to NBA Lottery pick after helping the Longhorns win the NIT postseason title in 2019.
In his final game as a Longhorn, Jones had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and three blocks in the No. 3 seeded Longhorns’ 53-52 loss to Abilene Christian.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @Postinspostcard.
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