DURHAM, N.C. – Duke freshman Tyus Jones will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Wednesday.
“Tyus could not have done a better job for us this past year,” said Krzyzewski. “We’re so very happy for him and his family to have the opportunity to declare for the draft. He is projected to be a first-round pick. He’s going to get a lot better, but people have already seen him and know how he handles himself, especially in pressure situations and in the biggest games. He comes through like a champion! I loved coaching him, and I believe he’ll be an outstanding professional. At this time, I think is so appropriate for him to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Jones, the 2015 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012), Jabari Parker (2014) and teammates Jahlil Okafor (2015) and Justise Winslow (2015) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one season of college basketball.
Jones, an All-ACC third team honoree, averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game during his freshman season. For his efforts, Jones received a number of awards, including being named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and the USBWA All-District III Team. He was also tabbed the ACC Rookie of the Week four times throughout the season and the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week once.
Jones made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils upon arriving in Durham, ranking among the all-time best Duke freshman in a number of categories. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.86:1 marked a Duke rookie record, while his 217 total assists ranked third. Jones also became just the second freshman in Duke history to score 400 points and register 200 assists in his rookie season, concluding his career with 461 points and 217 assists. Jones shot 88.9 percent from the free throw line, which sits third on Duke’s freshman list, as well, while his 144 made free throws ranks second. Among his conference counterparts, Jones ranked second in free throw percentage and assists (5.56 apg.) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio.
“Coming to Duke was a dream of mine and being a part of such a special team was amazing,” said Jones. “I knew coming in I would be a part of a great team, but I never envisioned I would be a part of such an incredible family. That is what has made winning a national championship such an amazing experience. I am faced with the tough decision of returning to a place I love or pursuing my next dream. With the support and guidance of my family, my coaches, my teammates, and Duke University, I have decided to start my professional career. Even though I am entering the NBA Draft, I will forever be a Duke Blue Devil.”
Jones concluded his tremendous freshman season by earning NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. The Apple Valley, Minn., native helped guide the Blue Devils to their fifth national championship title by averaging 13.0 ppg., 4.5 apg., 1.7 spg. and 3.2 rpg. over six games played in the NCAA Tournament. Jones proved a reliable scorer from the free throw line, converting 22-of-24 (.917) attempts from the charity stripe. Jones connected on all seven free throw attempts and scored a game-high 23 points in the national championship game against Wisconsin. Jones also hit two key three pointers in the waning minutes of the national title game, giving Duke the lead and then putting the game out of reach against the Badgers.
Duke has produced a first round selection in the NBA Draft in each of the past four years. Krzyzewski has mentored 28 first round picks, including 18 lottery selections. The 2015 NBA Draft will take place Thursday, June 25 in New York City.