Former Texas center Kai Jones has finally fulfilled the NBA dream, as the 20-year-old has been taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, but will have his draft rights traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
Jones joins an elite group of Texas bigs taken in the first round since 2015, including Myles Turner, Jarrett Allen, Mohamed Bamba, and Jaxon Hayes.
Take a look at LonghornsCountry.com's draft analysis of Jones here.
The first-round selection is even more impressive for Jones considering he didn't start playing basketball until five years ago. Despite a lack of on-court experience compared to other prospects, the 6-foot-11 athletic beast used two years at Texas to develop into a lethal rim-runner and intimidating interior defender.
Last season at Texas, Jones was a major contributor off the bench for Shaka Smart's Longhorns. His averages of 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 58 percent from the floor, weren't eye-popping but earned him 2021 Big 12 Sixth-Man-of-the-Year honors. He's the first Longhorns to ever win the award.
Jones' NBA potential is extremely bright. His physical tools and gifted athleticism are traits that are unteachable. Combining this with his solid three-point shot and keen defensive instincts is the perfect recipe for a lengthy career in the league.
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The likely next step for Jones is participating in the NBA Summer League, which starts on Aug. 8 in Las Vegas.
The Bahamas native will now begin his NBA career in Charlotte, as he'll look to make his mark on the league from the first moment he steps foot on the court.
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