Tre Jones

Duke’s Tre Jones Decides To Stay In School

One prominent Duke player has decided to stay in college for at least one more season. Point guard Tre Jones is returning for his sophomore season, according to a tweet from the school’s media relations department that was relayed by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

The 6’2” Jones averaged 9.8 PPG and 5.3 APG over 34.2 MPG in his freshman campaign. He posted a season-high 22 points and eight assists against Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16.

Jones was considered a borderline first-rounder. He was ranked No. 29 overall by ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony. Jones’ feel for the game, defensive prowess and ability to make plays in the lane made a strong impression on scouts, according to ESPN’s pre-draft analysis.

The Blue Devils are still expected to lose three projected lottery picks, led by top-rated Zion Williamson. Shooting guard R.J. Barrett is ranked No. 3 and Cam Reddish sits at No. 7 on Givony’s Top 100 list.

Draft Notes: T. Jones, J. Smith, Dawkins, Tyree

Duke guard Tre Jones published an Instagram post this weekend in which he strongly hinted that he’s leaning toward returning to school for at least one more year. Nothing is official yet, but if Jones does elect to stick with the Blue Devils for his sophomore season, it would be big news for the program.

Currently, Jones ranks 29th on Jonathan Givony’s 2019 NBA draft big board at ESPN.com, including fourth among point guards. According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (via Twitter), the Knicks, Grizzlies, Hornets, Pelicans, Hawks, and Thunder have all done a “great amount” of background work on Jones.

As we wait for official word from the Duke guard, here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Maryland freshman forward Jalen Smith, a potential draft candidate, has elected to return to the Terrapins for his sophomore season, the school announced today in a press release. “I’m excited to return to Maryland for my sophomore year and advance my education as I continue to develop both on and off the court with my teammates and coaching staff,” said Smith, who averaged an impressive 17.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 3.0 BPG in two NCAA tournament games.
  • UCF guard Aubrey Dawkins has submitted the paperwork necessary to declare for the 2019 draft, according to a press release. The 6’6″ junior left a strong final impression, having racked up 32 points against Duke in UCF’s second-round NCAA tournament loss.
  • Ole Miss junior guard Breein Tyree has announced that he’ll test the draft waters, maintaining his college eligibility during the process (Twitter link). Tyree averaged a team-high 17.9 PPG on .459/.375/.831 shooting in 33 games in 2018/19.

Draft Notes: Zion, Reddish, Smits, Whitt

Zion Williamson, unsurprisingly, remains at No. 1 in the latest mock draft from ESPN insiders Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz. As Schmitz explains, while Williamson was already considered a lock to stay in that top spot, his performance in last week’s ACC tournament was the “latest reminder of just how far ahead of his peers he is.” Schmitz adds that the Duke forward is “far and away the most impressive collegiate prospect I’ve ever evaluated.”

Further down the draft board, Schmitz’s describes Cam Reddish‘s ACC tournament performance as the “most alarming of his yearlong disappearing acts,” though Reddish still comes in at No. 6 overall.

Meanwhile, at No. 11 overall, UNC’s Coby White has emerged as the third-best point guard in the 2019 class behind Ja Morant and Darius Garland, Schmitz writes. Morant and Garland both come in as top-four selections in ESPN’s latest mock.

Here’s more on the 2019 NBA draft:

  • Valparaiso junior Derrik Smits confirmed on Monday that he plans to test the draft waters this spring, per Paul Oren of The Times of Northwest Indiana (Twitter link). The seven-footer, the son of longtime Pacers center Rik Smits, will transfer to another program if he decides to withdraw from the draft.
  • SMU guard Jimmy Whitt has announced (via Twitter) that he’s entering his name in the 2019 draft pool. Whitt, who began his college career at Arkansas, averaged 12.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 4.0 APG in his junior year for SMU.
  • Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders identifies four prospects he believes will improve their stocks between now and draft day, starting with their performances in the NCAA tournament. Villanova’s Eric Paschall and Duke’s Tre Jones are among Nadeau’s picks.

And-Ones: R. Wallace, Exum, Underclassmen

Four-time NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace has secured a new job, having been named the boys’ basketball coach at Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina, according to Jonas Pope IV of The News & Observer. Wallace, who last played in the NBA during the 2012/13 season, says that he considered taking an NBA job before instead opting for a head coaching position at the high school level.

“I did have some offers from a few NBA teams to be on their staff,” Wallace said. “The money was good, but it’s not about the money to me, it’s about that knowledge. Knowledge should be free and it doesn’t cost anything to pass that knowledge to these young men.”

A member of the Pistons’ 2004 championship team, Wallace briefly served as an assistant coach on Detroit’s staff in 2013/14 after he retired as a player.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Jazz offered an update on Dante Exum today, announcing that the point guard – who has been on the shelf since January 5 due to an ankle injury – plans to return to practice this week. The news suggests that Utah should expect to get Exum back in its rotation sometime in the not-too-distant future.
  • Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com identifies eight NCAA underclassmen who could face tough decisions on whether or not to forgo their remaining college eligibility and go pro this season. Tyler Herro (Kentucky), Jordan Nwora (Louisville), Tre Jones (Duke), and Coby White (UNC) are among the prospects on Daniels’ list.
  • Brian Windhorst’s latest column at ESPN.com focuses on several subjects of interest, including the challenges facing the Heat as they try to acquire a star, and commissioner Adam Silver‘s recent comments on the state of the NBA.