Yesterday, Baylor freshman forward/center Perry Jones III â€“ a would be damn near Top-5 lock in this June’s NBA Draft â€“ declared publicly that he would return to school for his sophomore year.
In his first year in Waco, Jones dropped in 13.9 points and 7.2 boards a game on 55 percent shooting for the 18-13 Bears. With Jones returning, Coach Scott Drew and company now have a loaded and talented young core slated for next season. That’s because along with the 6-11 center roaming the paint on both sides of the court, Baylor will also see major additions in their incoming freshman class with high schoolers Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello – not to mention the return of will-be senior Qunicy Acy. As of yesterday, NBADraft.net had Jones going fifth in this year’s mock draft and has Miller going fourth in their 2012 mock.
Jones may not be the first star frosh to make his unexpected stay of collegiate attendance, but now he can spend more time developing his game and preparation in a more controlled atmosphere. Ohio State’s own big time first-year, Jared Sullinger, also decided to forgo the Draft recently in favor of returning to school for a second season. And if Jones comes out in force next season, he could potentially become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft. He will, however, have to miss the first five games of the Baylor schedule due to a late-season NCAA eligibility ruling.
Sure, the lockout has probably scared some of these kids a little more than popular opinion thought it would, but it is kind of refreshing to see some return. It’s cool that they will fight for another shot at cutting down the nets in March, and it’s also great for the landscape of college basketball as a whole. But both Jones’ and Sullinger’s passes on the NBA this year is interesting when looking at the upcoming Draft. In a class that isn’t already billowing over with mouth-watering potential and stars, it makes you wonder what directions teams in the Lottery will go when their numbers are called. And for what it’s worth, I think Duke’s Kyrie Irving is the best prospect at this point.
Either way, big ups to Jones for deciding to return and hoop a little longer on the college scene.
What do you think?
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