By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas guard and 2019-20 Co-SEC Player of the Year Mason Jones has signed a two-way contract with the Houston Rockets.
Jones, a 6-5 shooting guard from DeSoto, Texas, was not selected earlier Wednesday night in the 60-player NBA Draft, but now he’ll get an opportunity to split time between the Rockets’ NBA and G-League teams in 2020-21.
In the past, two-way players were locked into a maximum of 45 days activated with the NBA-level team with the remainder of the season played in the G-League, but in ’20-21 due to the coronavirus pandemic teams will be able to activate two-way players at the NBA level for up to 50 games (out of 72, a decrease from the typical 82-game regular season).
Jones came to Arkansas in the spring of 2018 after a season playing at Connors State junior college in Oklahoma.
Jones had a brilliant NBA Draft Combine workout in late October, making 248-of-316 for 78.5% in his overall shooting from the field in unguarded drill work (combination of two-point and three-point field goal shooting), and his free throw shooting was 98-of-100 for 98.0%.
Jones is coming off a spectacular Co-SEC Player of the Year season in 2019-20 in which he became the first Razorback to lead the SEC in scoring. He’s 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. Jones was honored as an AP Honorable Mention All American in ’19-20, while Portis was named AP second-team All American in 2015 and Williamson was named AP second-team All American in both 1994 and 1995.
Jones 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.