Arkansas junior guard Mason Jones to enter NBA Draft

Local Sports

Photo Courtesy: University of Arkansas Athletics

LITTLE ROCK — Propelled by a stellar junior season that was punctuated by SEC Player of the Year and All American honors, Arkansas guard Mason Jones announced on Friday that he’ll enter the 2020 NBA Draft, and in his Twitter announcement he said: “This has been a lifelong dream of mine to play in the NBA so I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”

Jones was ranked No. 80 on the most-recent ESPN / NBA Draft Express Top 100 big board of potential 2020 draft prospects. There are a total of 60 draft picks — 30 each in rounds one and two — in the annual NBA Draft. Whether or not he’s drafted, Jones will have numerous professional basketball opportunities via playing in the NBA’s G-League or overseas.

With the NBA’s current season suspended due to covid-19 virus concerns, it remains unclear when/if pre-draft activities (draft prospect-team meetings, workouts, deadline for withdrawing from the draft to return to college, etc.) as well as the 2020 NBA Draft will be rescheduled.

Jones led the SEC in scoring in 2019-20 at 22.0 points per game and he was named SEC Co-Player of the Year by the Associated Press on March 10, followed by being selected All American honorable mention by the AP on March 20. Jones was also a unanimous choice to the AP’s All SEC first team, and he was also an All SEC first team pick by the league’s coaches.

Jones remains a finalist for the Jerry West Award that goes to the nation’s top shooting guard.

Jones, who shared the AP SEC POY honor with Reggie Perry of Mississippi State, became just the third Razorback to earn the league’s top player honor since Arkansas entered the SEC in 1991-92 as he joined Bobby Portis (2015) and two-time winner Corliss Williamson (1994 and 1995). The trio of Jones, Portis, and Williamson also share the honor of being named AP All Americans in the same seasons that they were tabbed as SEC POY. Portis was named AP second-team All American in 2015, while Williamson was also named AP second-team All American in both 1994 and 1995.

Jones, a 6-5 native of DeSoto, TX, finished the regular season with a long list of accomplishments that cemented his All American and league player of the year resume …

* Jones’ 22.0 points per game not only led the SEC but it was eighth among NCAA Division 1 scorers (third in the nation among players from high-major programs)

* Jones became the first Razorback to finish as the SEC’s leading scorer.

* Jones was named SEC Player of the Week four times during the season, making him one of only three players in league history to win the honor at least four times in a season.

* Jones was the only player in the SEC to lead his team in scoring, rebounding (5.5 per game), assists (3.4 per game), and steals (1.6 per game).

* Jones’ nine games of scoring 30 or more points this season was the most in the SEC, and it was the most in the league in over 20 years.

* Jones’ two 40-points-or-more games this season was tops in the SEC, and only two other SEC players (Shaquille O’Neal of LSU twice in 1991-92 and Jodie Meeks of Kentucky three times in 2008-09) have been able to match that feat in the last 30 years.

* Jones led all NCAA D1 players in both free throws made (233) and free throws attempted (282), and his 213th free throw made against LSU on March 4 was the most in a season in school history.

* Jones’ 82.6% shooting from the free throw line ranked eighth in the SEC.

* Jones became the 44th Razorback to reach 1,000 career points at Arkansas, and he’s one of only eight Hogs to reach the milestone in two seasons.

* Jones was among 30 players in NCAA D1 who were on the Naismith national player of the year mid-season watch list.

* Jones led Arkansas (20-12, 8-11 in SEC games) with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals in an 86-73 win over Vanderbilt on March 11 in the first-round of the SEC tournament in Nashville, Tenn., which turned out to be the season finale not only for the Hogs but all of the SEC and college basketball due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

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