(Photo of Carlik Jones: Scott Utterback - Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 2021 NBA Draft is now officially complete, and while former Louisville guard David Johnson heard his name called on draft night, fellow Cardinal Carlik Jones has found himself going undrafted.
Just because the graduate transfer guard did not get drafted, does not mean his dream of playing in the NBA is dead. He now has the opportunity to sign a two-way contract with any team as an undrafted free agent, and work his way up the ranks of the G League.
While his crafty game and tendency to show up in big moments made him an enticing draft prospect, his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame was viewed as a significant drawback. As a result, he was generally regarded as one who would indeed go undrafted.
"Given the reliable nature of his game, Jones is on the lower end of the two-way spectrum for me. If I struck out on the targets above him, Jones would work for me if I needed a third point guard," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie wrote in his 2021 NBA Draft Guide.. "But he would not be a priority for me, either. At best, he’s a backup guard at the NBA level who might be able to make the occasional big shot."
Coming over from Radford during the previous offseason, the Cincinnati, Oh. native quickly established himself as one of the best players in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He averaged 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting 40.2% from the field and 32.1% on three-point attempts. He was only player in the ACC to rank among the top six in scoring, assists, assists/turnovers ratio and free throw percentage
Jones was named a First Team All-ACC selection, becoming the third Cardinal to be receive the honor, joining Nwora in 2020 and Donovan Mitchell in 2017. He received the third-highest votes and finished tied for second in the conference player of the year vote.
Prior to joining Louisville, the Cincinnati native was regarded as the top graduate transfer during the 2020 offseason. He averaged 20.0 points, 5.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in his redshirt junior year at Radford, winning Big South Player of the Year.
Jones ends his collegiate career with 1,871 points, 560 rebounds, 554 assists to 259 turnovers, 163 steals, a 44.7 field goal percentage and 32.5 three-point percentage mark in 118 games and 106 starts.
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