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Colby Jones has declared for the NBA

Xavier’s star forward won’t be returning to the Cintas next season

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Pittsburgh vs Xavier
Off into the sunset
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

That’s the news. Colby Jones has played his final game for Xavier. With the NBA beckoning and life being as short as it is, it’s hard to fault a young man who has the chance to make generational money. The hole Colby leaves at Xavier, though, will not be easy to fill.

For his career Jones averaged 12.3/6.2/3.6 on 49.4% shooting and 34% behind the arc. Those numbers don’t really encapsulate what Jones brought to the team. When the team needed a star, he was a star, when they need a stat stuffer, he filled the box score, when they need someone to bring the ball up, make the pass, grab a rebound, or get a bucket, Colby was the man on the scene.

This year was Colby’s best. Jones averaged 15.0/5.7/4.4 with an offensive efficiency of 112.5. Most vitally for his NBA chances, he shot 37.8% behind the arc. A 6-6 point forward with a low turnover rate and the ability to shoot the ball from deep plays anywhere. Throw in the fact that Colby is deceptively quick off the dribble and you have an NBA player.

I don’t know enough about the NBA to know how Xavier’s most recent star will do there. Jones wouldn’t have taken this decision if the advice he was getting didn’t indicate that his future lie somewhere in the land of massive guaranteed contracts. That’s great for him, but it makes the work Sean Miller must do this weekend all that much more difficult.