ATLANTA (May 10) – Georgia Tech’s Alvin Jones, a three-year starter at center for the Yellow Jackets’ basketball team, has decided to remain at Tech for his senior season rather than declare himself eligible for the NBA draft.
The 6-11 pivotman, who owns the Tech career record for blocked shots, has started 88 games in three seasons for the Jackets, averaging 9.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor. His 324 blocked shots ranks seventh in ACC history, while his career average of 3.5 ranks third.
“I’m very happy Alvin has decided to stay, and I feel like this is in his best interests,” said head coach Paul Hewitt, who became Tech’s 12th head coach on April 6. “From our individual workouts with him, I feel like he’ll be a real asset in our system. It also shows a lot of faith on his part that we can help him become a better basketball player. Then there’s also the fact that staying here will put him very close to graduating, and that’s something that we hold very high in importance with all of our players.”
His best season occurred as a sophomore, with averages of 12.7 points and 9.7 rebounds that led to his selection to the honorable mention all-ACC team and the ACC all-defensive team. Last year, Jones averaged 9.7 points and 8.0 rebounds and again made the ACC all-defensive team. He made a tremendous improvement at the foul line, hitting 61.5 percent of his attempts after making less than 55 percent during his first two seasons. He made the ACC all-freshman team in 1998 after scoring 6.8 points per game and averaging 6.7 rebounds.
“Ever since the season was over, I’ve worked out every day and worked hard to improve my offensive game,” said Jones. “This year, I can concentrate on having a good year and play in a system that’s going to feature some exciting basketball. It’ll be exciting for the fans to watch. I feel like things will work out great.”
Jones, a management major, is on track to graduate at the end of the summer, 2001 term.
“I felt like it would help me a lot to stay in school,” he said. “As far as the NBA goes, I never was told for sure where I might be taken in the draft. The only thing I had to go on was my performance last year.
“Right now, I’m on track to graduate next summer. I’ll have to take some courses this summer and next, but I can finish by the end of next summer. This summer, I’ll take classes and work out with NBA players who are in town, and I’ll try to get my game where it should be.”
With Jones’ election to stay, Tech returns six regulars from the 1999-2000 season. Returning in the backcourt are 5-11 junior Tony Akins (Lilburn, Ga.), 6-3 senior Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.) and 5-10 senior T.J. Vines (Woodstock, Ga.). Frontcourt players returning include Jones, 6-5 sophomore Clarence Moore (Norco, La.) and 6-7 senior Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.). Also coming back are 6-3 senior guard Darryl LaBarrie (Decatur, Ga.) and 6-8 junior forward Michael Isenhour (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who each appeared in 12 games last year.
Tech has signed 6-4 guard Marvin Lewis of Baltimore, Md., and 6-6 swingman Halston Lane of Oak Ridge, Tenn.