NE MISS. STARS TEAM UP FOR NBA
By Gene Phelps
Two Northeast Mississippi basketball stars Dontae’ Jones and Tim Jumper have joined forces.
Jones, 20, the former Mississippi State standout, has dropped his California-based agent, Bill Duffy of Sports West Management, to sign with Jumper, the former Booneville High School, Baldwyn High School and Ole Miss hoops standout.
“I’ve been watching Dontae’ for three years,” Jumper said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “The fact that he played at State doesn’t matter to me (laugh). He’s a Mississippi guy.”
Jumper, 26, the chief of basketball operations for Mid-South Sports Management in Memphis, says Jones signed with him last week. Jones, this season’s SEC Tournament and NCAA Southeast Regional MVP, is making himself eligible for the June 26 NBA draft.
“Dontae’ really showed in the postseason that he was able to step up and carry the team,” Jumper said. “It was evident that he has the skills to get it done. He has the ability to create his own shot and that’s very important on the next level.”
Jones was unavailable for comment and is in training at a private location.
“Dontae’ doesn’t need any distractions,” Jumper said. “We’ve got him working out with a personal trainer. We want to get him in the best possible physical condition. You have to be in shape to play this game, especially on the next level.”
Jumper says Jones is a “legitimate top 15 pick” for the upcoming draft. He will attend the NBA’s pre-draft camp June 3-7 in Chicago.
“Scouts from all the teams will be at that camp,” Jumper said. “He (Jones) will also have some individual workouts for teams.”
Jones plans to return to Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville Friday for a 2 p.m. press conference at Bonner Arnold Coliseum on campus.
“He just wants to say thanks to the people at Northeast and in Booneville,” Jumper said. “It’s also the first time that he’s made any official announcement of his plans.”
Jones also plans to attend Saturday’s Celebration of Success program at MSU honoring the Bulldogs’ SEC Tournament champion and Final Four team. The program is scheduled for 7 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are $10 each.