According to Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick, sources close to Perry Jones are saying that the Baylor freshman will return to school next season instead of declaring for the 2011 NBA Draft.
Jones’ averages of 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game were relatively modest, but he was projected to be a top-five pick in next year’s notoriously weak draft due to his combination of size, length, athleticism, and skill. Jones was suspended from last year’s Big 12 Tournament thanks to some illegal benefits, and will have to sit out the first five games of next season before he will be eligible for reinstatement by the NBA.
This is an extremely risky move for Jones. NBA teams have a lot of faith in their ability to develop raw talents like Jones on their own; any team that drafted him would have been expecting him to make serious leaps during his rookie season. If he doesn’t make those leaps with Baylor next season, his stock will free-fall, especially since the 2012 draft is expected to be much stronger than the 2011 one. If Jones does develop into the kind of player his talents suggest he could become next year, he could very well be a top-3 pick. If he doesn’t, Jones may have just cost himself a lot of money.