April 20, 2005
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's University junior Dwayne Jones has declared his eligibility for the 2005 NBA Draft, by submitting a letter to the league office. He has not hired an agent so could return to SJU for the 2005-06 season.
"It's been a dream of mine to play basketball in the NBA and to be able to provide for my family. I feel I've put myself in position to have the chance to play at that level. I'd like to take full advantage of this opportunity now since I am graduating in May. I will use the evaluation process to determine whether I would be a first-round pick, but will not hire an agent so I have the option of returning to Saint Joseph's next year," said Jones.
Jones, from Chester, PA, is awaiting an invitation to the NBA's pre-draft camp in Chicago, which is held from June 7-11. He will have until June 21 to withdraw from the draft and retain his final season of eligibility. This year's NBA Draft will be held in New York on June 28.
"Dwayne's growth over the years has prepared him for the challenge that this opportunity presents. He has accomplished many great things on and off the court. It's an exciting time for D.J. as he graduates next month and has the possibility of testing himself against the best players in the country," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.
The 6-11 center from Chester, PA, has established himself as one of the top rebounders and shot blockers in college basketball. Jones ranked fifth in the nation with rebounding with 11.6 per game and fifth in blocked shots with 3.0. He was the Hawks' third leading scorer with 10.1 points per game, while becoming the first SJU player since 1995-96 to average a double-double. In his career thus far, he has totalled 831 rebounds, 232 blocked shots and 694 points.
He was named the Atlantic 10's Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Conference and All-Big 5 second team honors. He was selected to both the Atlantic 10 Championship and to the NIT All-Tournament teams, as the Hawks reached the finals in both tournaments. Saint Joseph's finished the season with a 24-12 record.
Jones redshirted his first season at Saint Joseph's in 2001-02 and thus has one season of intercollegiate eligibility remaining. He will graduate from SJU on May 14 with his bachelor's degree in sociology.
Jones is the third Hawk in the last three years to declare his intentions for the draft before his eligibility was exhausted. Last year, Delonte West declared and stayed in the draft, being selected by the Boston Celtics with the 24th pick of the first round. Jameer Nelson submitted his name in 2003, but decided to return for this senior year, which ultimately led to the 2004 season in which he became the consensus National Player of the Year. Nelson was a first-round selection along with West in the 2004 draft, as he was picked 20th by Denver with his rights then being traded to Orlando.