Michigan's DeVante' Jones declares for NBA Draft

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

After one season at Michigan, DeVante’ Jones is moving on.

The grad transfer guard, who arrived in Ann Arbor after four years at Coastal Carolina, announced on social media Saturday that he will pursue his NBA dream.

“Michigan…Thank you,” Jones wrote in a post. “This wasn’t the easiest year for me but with the support of the fans, my teammates, the coaching staff, and the hardworking managers, it made my experience here worthwhile. This is a year I will never forget because it taught me that when you get hit you can’t just sit there and complain because nobody will feel sorry for you.

Michigan guard DeVante' Jones (12) announced Saturday he will pursuing a professional career.

“I went through so many obstacles and challenges with my brothers. It made us stronger, and we proved the world wrong all year long. I’m grateful for every single last one of you boys. Most importantly, I’m thankful for God for putting me in such a great position to better my basketball career. With that being said, I will be declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft. #12Out #BetOnYourself.”

More: Michigan salvages season with Sweet 16 run: 'We turned it around at the end'

Jones averaged 10.3 points, 4.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 28.8 minutes as Michigan’s starting point guard. After struggling with turnovers and foul trouble early in the season, he emerged as one of the Wolverines’ best players down the stretch. Most notably, his 21-point, nine-assist performance in the regular-season finale at Ohio State secured Michigan’s spot in the Big Dance.

Jones started 33 of Michigan’s 34 games. He missed the NCAA Tournament opener against Colorado State while recovering from a concussion but returned to the lineup for the final two contests.

“For me, it was just an honor throughout the whole year just being able to play with a group of guys that's so talented, especially with a great coaching staff, with Coach Juwan Howard and the rest of the guys did a great job,” Jones said after Thursday’s loss to Villanova in the Sweet 16. “This an experience I'll never forget.

“Obviously, we didn't get the outcome we wanted, but me, I'm just blessed to be in the position I'm in today. Through my three years at Coastal, I never made March Madness, and my first round here I made the Sweet 16. It was just an amazing experience for me.”

Jones could have returned for a sixth college season due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 waiver, but he’ll turn 24 on April 9 and he had already garnered professional interest — working out with the Sacramento Kings and taking part in the G League combine last summer — before coming to Michigan.

After the Wolverines’ season ended in San Antonio, coach Juwan Howard called fifth-year senior Eli Brooks and Jones “stars” for the job they did throughout the year.

“Our senior guards were some of the best leaders that you can find,” Howard said. “This is only one year with him, but D.J. has accepted his role, learned a lot from this team and how the Michigan culture and everything I sold them on when I recruited them, being honest, but then also he saw how it developed.

“They were special throughout the year. D.J. with his health, he's battled and battled. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around.”

In addition to Jones, Michigan will lose its other starting guard in Brooks, who already took advantage of his extra year of eligibility. Sophomore-to-be Frankie Collins, who started the one game Jones missed, and incoming freshman Dug McDaniel figure to fill the void at point guard next season.

Jones’ decision is the first of many for the Wolverines, who are also awaiting NBA Draft decisions from sophomore center Hunter Dickinson, freshman forward Moussa Diabate and freshman forward Caleb Houstan.


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins