Jones Heading Overseas For First Pro Season
Jones recently signed a contract with BC Kyiv of the Ukrainian Superleague and departs this week for a 10-month stay in Eastern Europe. He will spend his first couple months training before the season starts up at the beginning of October.
"After talking with my agent, we felt like the Ukraine would be a good opportunity," Jones said. "It's one of the top leagues in the world, and we felt like it would be a good fit in terms of playing style. They needed someone in my position, and it's an opportunity I'm looking forward to."
Jones heard from BC Kyiv at the beginning of the summer but also had an opportunity to play with the Sacramento Kings' summer league team and wanted to see how that panned out. He could have found a spot in the NBA Development League, but he viewed his chance in the Ukraine as better, both developmentally and competitively.
"Once they opportunity for the summer league came up, I kind of put the Ukraine on hold for a while, but they had shown interest from the beginning," Jones said. "I had the opportunity to go to some training camps, but the Ukraine deal had been on the table and it was getting to the point where I had to make a decision."
Basketball may very well be one of the only familiar things overseas for Jones, who is preparing himself for changes in most everything else. The Michigan City, Ind., product has already received advice from Kings' summer league teammates Michael Lee and Darnell Jackson, who both previously played in the Ukraine.
"I'll be in the capital city, and I'm told a lot of people under age 30 speak English," Jones said, "but I'm still going to have to adjust to a different culture."
BC Kyiv is coming off a 21-18 season last year in the Ukrainian Superleague. Another former Ball State player, Marcus Norris, helped the Wolves to the league championship in 2005-06.
A four-time All-Mid-American Conference selection for Ball State, Jones wrapped up his collegiate career this past season ranking among the top six in Cardinals history for points (1,615), rebounds (975) and blocked shots (115).
Jones is hoping an impressive rookie season in Europe will earn him a better chance to make a roster back in the NBA the next year. He says Sacramento told him they liked his skill set but didn't have a roster spot for him this year.
"They told me they'll watch me overseas just like they would if I was playing on their D League team," he said. "Hopefully I'll make my mark in the Ukraine."