One of the best stories of the NCAA Tournament is staying in the NBA Draft.
Jason Preston, a 6’4, 187-pound guard from Ohio University, told ESPN through his agency, Roc Nation Sports, that he was staying in the 2021 NBA Draft. Preston originally declared without signing with an agent so he had the option of going back to school, but will stay in after he reportedly impressed at the NBA Combine.
Ohio University junior guard Jason Preston will remain in the 2021 NBA Draft and sign with agent Drew Gross of Roc Nation Sports, Preston told ESPN on Wednesday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2021
He also confirmed the announcement via Twitter:
Hardest decision of my life.. but the time is now!! To Ohio University… I’m so so so THANKFUL and I’ll always be forever GRATEFUL for taking a chance and believing in me. I LOVE YOU FOREVER BOBCAT NATION💚But always know first you always have to BELIEVE IN YOU!! pic.twitter.com/qbmW9FyhXr
— Jason Preston (@Treballjay11) July 7, 2021
Preston’s story is incredible. He averaged two points a game in high school, went to prep school, made his own highlight video and then posted the video to Twitter where it was then seen by then0Ohio head coach Saul Phillips and resulted in a college scholarship. Last season as a junior, he missed some time due to COVID-19, but also dropped 31 points against Illinois and was the driving factor in the Bobcats reaching the Sweet 16 in the tournament. For the year, he averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 38.5% from three and 51.4% from the field.
Where he falls in the draft remains to be seen. He seems to be ranked a high second round pick right now, which isn’t a bad place to be. But perhaps some teams in late first round believe in him enough to take a flier on him there. For what it it’s worth, he spent Wednesday working out with the Lakers, who pick No. 22 overall.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 7, 2021
Regardless of where he ends up, Preston has taken the next step from complete unknown to a legitimate NBA prospect who seems like he’ll get drafted later this month. That’s a cool story for someone who took the beaten path to get here.