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David Jones remains in NBA Draft, won’t return to Memphis basketball next season

David Jones is gone. (Image Credit: Memphis Athletics)
By Roman Cleary - May 29, 2024, 3:20 pm - 0 comments

The Tigers’ leading scorer is not returning next season.

Sources confirm to Bluff City Media that David Jones is staying. in the 2024 NBA Draft, and will forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility with Memphis basketball. Head coach Penny Hardaway and staff made a last-ditch effort to change Jones’ mind, but it was unsuccessful.

Jones declared for the draft while maintaining his eligibility on April 20, and received one of 78 invites to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. But he didn’t fare as well as he hoped during the seven-day event earlier this month.

The star forward, whose official listed height is 6-foot-6, measured in at just 6-foot-3 1/2 without shoes to start the week. He also received a mediocre 6-foot-7 wingspan.

He didn’t perform much better when squaring off against his fellow combine attendees, averaging just 6 points and 3.5 rebounds on 30% shooting in his two scrimmage opportunities. Jones’ team lost both games by an average 11 points.

Jones’ underwhelming performance at the combine seemingly reaffirmed his status as a borderline second-round to undrafted prospect, so a return to Memphis looked like his best developmental and financial option. But the 22-year-old instead hopes to beat the odds and try his hand at professional basketball next year.

The Dominican Republic native was the face of Hardaway’s club last season, averaging 21.8 points (7th in Division I), 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. He also shot 45.9% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. Those numbers helped him become a finalist for the Julius Erving Award, which goes to the country’s best small forward, and an Associated Press (AP) All-America Honorable Mention among other various accolades.

The Tigers missed the NCAA Tournament despite Jones’ stellar play, though. After starting the 2023-24 season with a 15-2 record and a No. 10 ranking in the AP Top 25, they went just 7-8 in their final 15 games—most of it against lowly American Athletic Conference (AAC) competition—and got utterly embarrassed by Wichita State in the second round of the AAC Tournament on March 14.

Jones’ departure is undeniably significant for Memphis, but Hardaway has still garnered a highly-touted transfer portal class this offseason that should make his seventh team the preseason favorite to win the AAC.

The star-studded group is headlined by 2024 AAC Freshman of the Year PJ Haggerty (21.2 points per game), sharpshooter Colby Rogers (40.9% from 3-point range on 7.1 tries per game) and former Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyrese Hunter (11.1 points and 4.1 assists per game). It also features solid frontcourt pieces in Illinois’ Dain Dainja, SMU’s Tyreek Smith and Ole Miss’ Moussa Cisse (who played for Memphis in 2020-21) to go along with George Mason point guard Baraka Okojie.

Forward Nick Jourdain is the Tigers’ only returning scholarship player, and 4-star guard Jared Harris comes in as their lone high school recruit. All of Memphis’ current scholarship players besides Portugal guard Daniel Vieira-Tuck have arrived on campus for the team’s summer workouts that begin Saturday.

Memphis, which still has three open scholarships, currently projects as the No. 33 team in the country for next season without Jones, according to


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