Sports

Kai Jones impresses scouts at Klutch Sports Pro Day

In approximately two weeks, National Basketball Association (NBA) 2021 draft prospect Bahamian Kai Jones will be sitting with family and friends waiting to hear his name called. He along with five other draft prospects showcased their talent at the Klutch Sports Pro Day at the Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles, California, on Tuesday. The 2021 NBA Draft is set for July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

A springy Jones showed off his speed, quickness and energy in the one-hour segment that was televised on ESPN2 on Tuesday night.

Working out in addition to the Bahamian were Brandon Boston Jr., Jalen Johnson, Scottie Lewis, Moses Moody and Jericho Sims.

Jones showed his range when he went through the shooting drills from three-point territory. In another one of the drills, the 6’ 11” 225 pounds forward/center blocked a shot and immediately sprinted into the open court for a reverse slam dunk.

The highlight of the drills was him showing off his energy and speed to get into the open court. He ran four lengths of the court and an assortment of slam dunks were on display each time.

Another drill had him attacking the rim for four huge consecutive slams. The first one was down the baseline for a between the legs dunk. The second one was from the right side three-point line for a double clutch slam dunk. He then came from the left side of the three-point line and threw down a windmill dunk. He punctuated the drill with a two-handed slam down the middle of the floor.

Jones signed with Klutch Sports Group which is one of the top sports agencies run by Rich Paul. They represent the likes of Los Angeles duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards and the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young.

The former University of Texas Longhorns player is ranked at number 20 in the ESPN draft rankings. In the latest draft predictions on ESPN, that was done back on June 22, Jones was predicted to go at number 17 to the Memphis Grizzlies. However, Jones is set to work out today for the Golden State Warriors who have the seventh and 14th picks in the first round.

If selected, Jones will be the sixth Bahamian basketball player to be drafted, following in the footsteps of Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson (1978 first overall pick), Osbourne “Goose” Lockhart (1978 in the sixth round, 130th overall), Rick Fox (1991 24th overall pick), Chavano “Buddy” Hield (2016 sixth overall pick) and DeAndre Ayton (2018 first overall pick).

The Bahamian won the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year Award this past season, averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 26 games. It was a huge improvement from his freshman season when he averaged 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. His collegiate career-high in points was 20 against Oklahoma State in his freshman season.

Jones made a name for himself in 2017-2018, helping Orlando Christian Prep win the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A state championship. While there, he played alongside five-star recruits Nassir Little and C.J. Walker.

After spending his post-graduate year at Brewster Academy under Coach Jason Smith, Jones was heavily recruited by schools such as Baylor University, Florida State University (FSU) and the University of Arizona before finally deciding to play for Coach Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns.

This past season, Jones has shown NBA scouts that he has the athleticism of a small forward and can space the floor. He has also shown that he can connect on shots from deep as he shot 38.2 percent from three-point range.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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