Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year three times.
Jones signs with agent, finished with Arkansas
Arkansas guard Mason Jones (15) against LSU during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Fayetteville. Jones has declared for the NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
FAYETTEVILLE -- Mason Jones definitely has played his last basketball game for the University of Arkansas.
Creative Artists Agency made Jones' departure from Arkansas official Friday by announcing on Twitter that it has signed him.
CAA, which has its headquarters in Los Angeles and represents professional athletes as well as entertainers in the film, television and music industries, is not among the 22 agencies certified by the NCAA to advise potential NBA Draft picks.
That means Jones forfeited his senior season of college eligibility by signing with CAA.
"Welcome to the CAA Family @masonjones2!!" the agency tweeted.
Jones' decision to keep his name in the NBA Draft wasn't a surprise. He said in a radio interview with the Morning Rush on April 9 there was a good chance he would stay in the draft.
In a tweet posted Friday night, Jones thanked the fans for allowing him to live out his dream by playing for the Razorbacks. He also thanked Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman and assistants Corey Williams, Clay Moser and Chris Crutchfield, and director of operations Anthony Ruta along with the rest of the basketball staff.
"Thank y'all for teaching me how to be a player on and off the court," Jones wrote. "The stuff I learned this year was unreal."
Jones averaged 22.0 points per game as a junior to become the first Razorback to lead the SEC in scoring. He also averaged 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals and was The Associated Press co-SEC player of the year along with Mississippi State forward Reggie Perry. He averaged 13.6 points and 3.9 rebounds as a sophomore at Arkansas after transferring from Connors State College in Oklahoma.
"We wish Mason the best of luck," Musselman, who led the Razorbacks to a 20-12 record in his first season as their coach, said in a text Friday. "He made great strides this past season and obviously had a phenomenal year.
"Certainly made year one a memorable experience. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with him as a Hog alum."
Kentucky Coach John Calipari is represented by CAA, whose NBA clients include Zion Williamson, Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Paul, Paul George, Joel Embiid and Devin Booker.
"All God," Jones tweeted in reply to CAA's post that it had signed him.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, who played at Little Rock's Pulaski Academy and with the Razorbacks, also is represented by CAA.
"Good to see another Hog in the CAA family. Congrats," Henry posted to Jones.
Jones was an AP honorable mention All-American who scored 30 or more points in nine games this season, including a career-high 41 against Tulsa. He hit 68 of 194 three-pointers (35.1%) and led the nation in free throws made (233) and attempted (282) for 82.6%
In SEC play, Jones averaged 23.6 points per game. He scored 40 points against Auburn, 38 against Mississippi State, 37 against Tennessee and 36 against LSU.
"[Jones] has a great feel for the game," Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said late in the season. "He's going to end up being an NBA player. He's a really, really special talent.
"His skill package is so impressive -- his ability to not only shoot threes, but take you off the dribble and get to the free throw line."
Despite Jones' monster season with the Razorbacks, he is listed on only one NBA mock draft. USA Today, in a story posted on April 2, projected Jones as the No. 34 pick, which would be early in the second round.
The NBA Draft, which is scheduled to be held June 25 at the Barclays Center in New York, but could be postponed because of the coronavirus, has two rounds with a total of 60 picks.
According to multiple reports Friday, the NBA has indefinitely postponed its scouting combine, which had been scheduled for May 21-24 in Chicago.
CBS Sports ranked Jones as the No. 65 draft prospect.
Jones and Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe are among 163 college players who have declared for the draft as early entries according to Sports Illustrated. There also are 42 international players in the draft.
Joe, a former Fort Smith Northside standout who averaged 16.9 points as a sophomore this season, has retained his eligibility by not signing with an agent.
Early entries have until an NCAA-mandated June 3 deadline to withdraw from the draft and retain their eligibility.
"I have no doubt that whatever decision Isaiah and his family make will be for sure the right decision," Musselman said on April 20 when he announced Joe was declaring for the draft. "I mean, they are not hiring an agent. That was made abundantly clear.
"They're going through the process to use it as a feedback time to try to make the best decision that they possibly can. But they are not hiring an agent, for sure."
Joe is projected as a second-round pick in some mock drafts, including No. 35 by SI.com; No. 40 by CBS Sports; and No. 43 by Draftsite.com.
Sports on 05/02/2020
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.