With Dominique Jones getting ready for the NBA Draft tomorrow, we wanted to reach out to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com to see what he had to say about DoJo's rise in the draft, and where he thought Jones might end up Thursday.
KEN: How has Jones worked himself up from a mid second rounder up to a possible lottery pick?
ALEX: After putting up some excellent numbers with the Bulls last season, Dominique has done a great job in workouts to distance himself from the other guards in this class and climb into the first round. Throughout the process, Jones performed well against the other combo guards like Jordan Crawford and Terrico White and his stock just kept rising after that. He's a guy who can put the ball in the basket and teams have fallen in love with that scoring ability.
KEN: Do you think Jones has any chance being picked by Utah at 9 after his workout Saturday, or is he an option for the Jazz if they move down in the draft?
ALEX: If Utah moves down, he could be an option but I think the Jazz will keep the ninth pick and go with the best wing player available. I'm hearing they like Luke Babbitt so don't be surprised if they grab him. But in this draft, it's hard to predict if there will be movement since so many teams have been active in trade discussions in recent weeks.
KEN: Have you heard from Jones to see where he thinks he might be heading on Thursday, or is this draft going to be so bizarre he has no idea where he or anyone else save John Wall will be drafted?
ALEX: I talked to Dominique earlier this morning and he's not sure where he'll land. As I mentioned, it's hard to predict where teams will actually be selecting on draft night, nonetheless where certain players will go off the board. Dominique says that Miami, Portland, and Atlanta have expressed interest in him so that seems to be his floor. He's just excited to get this process over with and find out where he'll end up so he can start the real work.
KEN: How has it taken so long for some mainstream media guys warm up to Jones as a first rounder? It seemed like Jonathan Givony of Draft Express and yourself were two of the only guys on the DoJo bandwagon from the beginning.
ALEX: As you know, USF is known as a football school and while there was some hype surrounding Jones going into last season, people weren't sure if he could make the transition to the next level. Could he go from being the man all of his life to coexisting with equally talented teammates? Was his size an issue? What position would he play in the NBA? I liked Jones from the start because teams are always intrigued by great scorers. Also, the draft process favors someone like Dominique because it gives him a chance to display his one on one skills and break down the person he's matched up against. I don't know how many times I've heard that he "embarrassed" another prospect throughout this process. But even when the Bulls' season came to an end, the media wondered whether or not Jones would be a first round pick. They were late to the party but I know it has motivated Dominique and made him work even harder.
KEN: Being in Tampa, I'm sure you caught at least one USF game this season. Which game was your favorite?
KEN: Finally, where do you think Jones ends up Thursday night?
ALEX: It's hard to predict. As I type this, the Miami Heat are deciding whether or not to move up in the draft and they're a potential suitor for Dominique. Barring any trades, I think we'll see him selected by Portland or Atlanta but it wouldn't surprise me if some team tried to move up from the second round or late first to grab him. This draft has now been described to me as "crazy", "weird", and "unpredictable" by executives so we'll see what happens but the one certainty is that it will be a great night for Dominique and USF.
Thanks again to Alex for taking time out of the busiest two days for him. Once again, visit HoopsWorld.com for more of his articles. He is always a good read.