Perry Jones III makes jaw-dropping move
April, 11, 2011
By Diamond Leung | ESPN.com
For the news conference to announce his NBA draft decision, Baylor freshman forward Perry Jones III sat in between his parents wearing a T-shirt featuring an image of Michael Jordan.
Jones, the one-and-done-talent who the NCAA ruled ineligible last month, then did the unthinkable. He declared he was staying in school.
Bears coach Scott Drew said teammate Quincy Acy's jaw dropped, and according to the Baylor Lariat, "Jones' teammates then burst into applause, handclaps and high pitched screaming."
The reaction was warranted, as Jones' decision to return to the team next season was simply stunning. Rare is the potential lottery pick who gets penalized by the NCAA and then decides to stick to the system and continue playing college ball.
“The whole college experience with my teammates. That was a big part of this decision," Jones told reporters. "Having fun with them. Just enjoying everything, just enjoying life with them. I do not want to cut that short and just leave out of nowhere. I want to have another good time like I did this year."
The 6-foot-11 Jones averaged 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds before the NCAA sat him out for the team's loss in the Big 12 tournament and also suspended him for the first five games of next season if he returned to school. The NCAA ruled he and his family received impermissible benefits.
Jones was willing to pay that price for another year to grow in the program, and he'll have plenty of talent around him. Acy, J'mison Morgan and top incoming freshman Quincy Miller help him form a strong frontcourt. Baylor is also adding guards in Deuce Bello and Cal transfer Gary Franklin.
Jones' return is an added bonus for Drew, whose team should be highly regarded in the preseason.
"Every year you just see him getting better and better, because he is so full of potential and as long as he keeps that work ethic and keeps that drive to get better, which is God-given as well," Drew told reporters.