Baylor freshman star Perry Jones not going pro yet
WACO, Texas (AP)
Long expected to be the Bears' first one-and-done player, Jones instead Monday said he was returning to Baylor for his sophomore season, even though he will have to sit out the first five games. He likely would have been one of the top picks in the NBA draft this summer.
''I really believe that I can grow as a player and as a person if I stay one more year at Baylor University. This is a pretty tough decision,'' said Jones, joined by his parents for the announcement. ''It was hard. I mean you see (NBA draft hype) and that is your dream all of your life. You see you can go number one. I mean, it is in the back of my mind but I know that this is the right choice.''
Jones said another year of development ''can only make things better for me.''
The 6-foot-11 forward was the Bears' highest-rated recruit and played up to expectations. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds while starting 30 games, a school freshman record.
''As the basketball player, he has a special God-given ability in size and talent, but what really makes him special is the type of person he is and that is why his teammates were jumping up and down when he said that,'' Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
Teammates seemed surprised by Jones' decision, including rising senior post Quincy Acy.
''Quincy's jaw dropped,'' Drew said.
The only senior on this year's team that went 18-13 was leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn.
''The whole college experience with my teammates, that was a big part of this decision, having fun with them. Just enjoying everything, just enjoying life with them,'' Jones said. ''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.''
Jones will miss the first five games next season as part of an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits before he enrolled at Baylor.
An NCAA reinstatement committee last month upheld an earlier ruling that declared him ineligible before the Bears played their Big 12 tournament opener March 9. Baylor lost that game, ending its season.
The week after that game, an NCAA reinstatement committee upheld the earlier ruling and enforced a six-game suspension. The Big 12 tournament game he missed counted as part of that.
Jones also was ordered to repay at least $700 in impermissible benefits. That included a trip to California last August to attend an NFL preseason game before he began classes at Baylor. The ruling by the NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement was the final appeal opportunity.
The NCAA said Jones' trip to an NFL game with his AAU coach was provided by an unidentified NFL player, and that the NFL player also provided Jones' parents three separate 15-day loans, all of which were repaid.