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Dillon Jones withdraws from NBA Draft, returns to Weber State basketball for 4th season

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | May 31, 2023

Freddie Lacey, for Weber State Athletics

Weber State's Dillon Jones (2) drives against Sacramento State's Zach Chappell on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

Weber State’s anticipated haul of men’s basketball returners for the 2023-24 season will have its cornerstone.

Dillon Jones, the star forward who made a name for himself in NBA circles during the month of May, has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Weber State for his fourth collegiate season, he told ESPN.

His decision went all the way to Wednesday night’s deadline for underclassmen to withdraw and still maintain college eligibility.

Jones averaged 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in the 2022-23 college season while leading Division I nationally in defensive rebounding, both by per-game average and by defensive rebounding percentage. He’ll play again at Weber State in a group that returns all five of last year’s starters, adds 19-points-per-game scorer Blaise Threatt from Division II Colorado Mesa, and hopes to find more sparks with a talented group of incoming international freshmen.

Jones declared for the draft through the option that allows him to hire an agent, work out with NBA teams and maintain his college eligibility. After early May workouts with the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics, Jones was a replacement invitee for the NBA G League Elite Camp, the precursor to the top-level NBA Combine.

In two games at the G League Elite Camp, Jones totaled 24 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, six steals and three turnovers while shooting 43% from the field, turning in an overall plus-minus of plus-17 in 36 minutes on the court. Among the 44 players there, Jones was one of eight invited to remain in Chicago and compete in the NBA Combine.

In two NBA Draft Combine games, Jones tallied 22 points, four rebounds, eight assists, three steals and five turnovers while shooting 5 of 14 from the field and 11 of 12 at the foul line in 40 minutes.

Since the Combine, Jones has worked out with the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies right up until the deadline to withdraw late Wednesday night.

His return to Weber State could position himself as a potential first-rounder next summer if he’s able to improve his tools year over year like he has to this point.

“Wow, (thought) he’d keep his name in and get picked in the 40s,” tweeted John Hollinger, The Athletic NBA writer and former Memphis front-office executive. “This guy definitely put Weber State on the watch list for scouts next season.”

Jones can now add to his college career totals — he’s fifth all-time at WSU in rebounds (833), fifth in steals (147) and 22nd in points (1,138) — and try to get WSU back to the top of the Big Sky for the first time since 2016.

“I think I did a good job this year but I know there are more steps to be taken, more to accomplish, so I’m ready,” Jones told the Standard-Examiner in March.

He’s the likely favorite for Big Sky preseason MVP honors and the Wildcats, due to their bevy of returning players in comparison to the rest of the league, are likely preseason team favorites as well.


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