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 Wednesday, May 10
Hewitt on Jones' decision: 'It's big for us'
 By Andy Katz

Georgia Tech junior center Alvin Jones will return for his senior season instead of declaring for the NBA draft.

Jones told first-year Tech coach Paul Hewitt late Tuesday night of his decision.

"It's big for us," Hewitt told ESPN.com Wednesday morning. "He can be a terrific player for us next year. I appreciate this and it shows a lot of faith in me."

Hewitt said Jones is close to graduating and could finish by the summer of 2001.

The 6-foot-11 Jones averaged 9.7 points and 8.0 rebounds for the 12-17 Yellow Jackets in Bobby Cremins' last season. Jones did block 75 shots playing alongside senior center Jason Collier. Collier is expected to go in the first round while Jones would have been a borderline first-round pick.

"We didn't know what he wanted to do," Jones' father, Alvin Sr., told ESPN.com. "So we left it up to him. I'm happy. I really am. I'm excited he has that year left. If he did all that he has to do, he could get his degree.

"There's no doubt that another year will mean a lot," Jones Sr. said. "Most players don't blossom until fourth year. This is a blessing to have another year to play college basketball and to continue his education."

The deadline for early entry candidates is May 14. Underclassmen have until June 21 to pull their names out of consideration and return to college if they don't sign with an agent. The two-round NBA draft is June 28.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Early-entry candidates for NBA draft