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Texas F Kai Jones declares for 2021 NBA Draft

It was expected the the rising forward would enter the 2021 NBA Draft, and that news is now official.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Oklahoma State vs Texas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

After two seasons in Austin, forward Kai Jones’ time with the Texas Longhorns is over, as he announced on Wednesday evening that he’s taking his talents the NBA.

“It was truly an honor to represent the Texas Longhorns for he past two seasons and suit up with my brothers night in and night out,’ Jones said. “I want to thank Coach Smart, the staff and my teammates for pushing me and helping me grown on ad off the court. I feel like I’ve improve as a player, a teammate and a person as a Longhorn. My time here has set me up to be successful as a take the next steps in my career.”

The announcement to go pro came as expected for the most part, after Jones summed up a breakout season for the Longhorns, tying for second on the team in blocks and third in rebounding, fourth in steals, and six in scoring among his fellow team members – a vast improvement over his freshman year, proving it was a wise decision for Jones to stick around for an additional season with the program. As a sophomore, he also averaged just more than 22 minutes per contest and proved to be an even more valuable piece of of the program down the stretch.

Wrapping up the 2020-2021 season, Jones was awarded the honor of Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year.

The 6-foot-11-inch, nearly 220-pound Texas sophomore, who’s originally from Nassau, Bahamas, is expected to go in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft, becoming the first Longhorn to do so since Jaxson Hayes was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in 2019.

“Kai is a guy that if you spend time around him, he’s got an unbelievable spirit and just this passion to him,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said of Jones earlier this year, per 247Sports. summed up Jones with this flattering, albeit earned on the part of Jones, statement: “Freak athlete and potential make him one of the most intriguing NBA prospects whose draft stock has soared all season long into the late-lottery or mid-first round.”