Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
'Good chance' Jones stays in NBA Draft
Arkansas' Mason Jones is shown during a game against LSU on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Mason Jones’ decision to declare for the NBA Draft on March 27 was not at all unexpected.
Although he entered his name into the draft, he still owns the option of returning to school. But in a 20-minute radio interview on The Morning Rush on Thursday, Jones said that is not likely to happen.
“Right now I’m just taking it day by day,” he said. “There’s a good chance that I’m going to stay in the draft and just take on bigger challenges. Dealing with God and how everything went this year, I feel like Coach (Eric Musselman) has put me in a good position where I can go out there and continue my journey and continue to show what my worth is.
“I just feel like right now on my journey it’s time for bigger challenges, and I’m ready to see where God takes me.”
Jones, who became the first Razorbacks player to win the SEC scoring title by averaging 22 points per game in 2019-20, confirmed that he has not hired an agent as of now.
The current deadline for underclassmen to return to school after going through the draft process is June 3. He has one season of eligibility remaining in college.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie’s latest 2020 NBA Draft Top-100 Board, Jones is slotted at No. 72. He does not appear on ESPN’s latest mock draft.
In the interview, Jones noted that Musselman has been a great help in terms of attaining feedback from NBA teams. Jones was not asked specifically what kind of feedback he has received.
“(He is) just helping me in all scenarios, not (only) for me coming back but for me going, too,” Jones said. “For a coach to help you and get a lot of feedback from teams is amazing. All the coaches have been doing it, so I've been blessed to have coaches that are very invested in you and want to see you have a good future.
“Coach Muss is just a good, genuine man. He does good things on and off the court, and he shows love for the players. Who wouldn’t want to play hard for a coach that basically treats you like a pro before you go pro?”
Asked if he had given any thought to returning to school and being “the man on campus,” Jones said no. He is taking the process one day at a time and continuing to work out, running and doing push-ups and sit-ups on a daily basis to stay in shape.
“I just want Arkansas fans to know that Mason Jones played his hardest every game and he made sure that win or lose, my team knew that we played my hardest and we gave it everything we could game in and game out,” he said. “I just want to leave that Mason Jones was one of the best scorers ever at Arkansas and that he could score at all three levels, knowing people said he wasn’t really athletic.
“(They said) he couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that, and he proved everybody wrong, and that Mason Jones was a hard worker. He didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, he didn’t let people stop him and he proved people wrong.”
Arkansas sophomore guard Isaiah Joe is expected to make a decision regarding his future soon, too. Joe averaged 16.9 points per game on 36.7 percent shooting and 34.2 percent from 3-point range last season.
Jones said he and Joe talk regularly, but their conversations are often not about basketball.
“A big decision is coming for my guy Isaiah,” he said, “so I just want to let him just make his decision freely. I want him to make the best decision for him.”
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