Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns are now at risk of losing yet another standout from a disappointing 2016-17 campaign, as Andrew Jones will follow the footsteps of fellow freshman Jarrett Allen and enter the NBA Draft, but won’t sign an agent, per an ESPN report.
Texas freshman Andrew Jones will test the NBA Waters and declare, but won't sign with an agent, source told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 30, 2017
Similar to Allen, Jones elected to test the NBA waters without signing with an agent, which leaves the door open for Jones to return to Texas for a sophomore season if he chooses to do so. Although the former McDonald’s All-American’s name isn’t one that’s mentioned among NBA Draft discussions too often, his rapid rise throughout his final season in high school, what seemed like game-by-game growth at Texas and sheer size and athleticism make this safe decision understandable.
In a worst-case scenario for Jones, as noted in his statement, he’ll gain feedback on areas of potential improvement for his sophomore season — DraftExpress currently projects Jones as the No. 20 prospect in the 2018 NBA Draft. He’s listed as the No. 47 prospect in the 2017 NBA Draft.
With his reputation as a gym rat, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Jones’ game progresses significantly throughout the next two months before he’s forced to make a decision on his future — his rapid rise as a recruit suggests this is a very real possibility. While there’s good reason for the burnt orange nation to be optimistic about Jones returning as a much-improved product next season, the athletic combo guard certainly presents plenty of long-term upside, which speaks volumes in the NBA Draft.
As a freshman, Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in his role as a sizable combo guard at 6’4, 190 pounds.