Baylor's Athletic Department released a statement a few minutes ago confirming that Baylor sophomore Perry Jones III has officially declared for the 2012 NBA Draft and decided to forgo his last two years' eligibility with Baylor Basketball.
From Perry himself:
“I want to thank Baylor Nation for an unbelievable two years,” Jones III said. “Baylor will always be a second home to me and I look forward to spending a lot of time in Waco and working towards finishing my degree.
“Thanks again to all the great Baylor fans for accepting me into your family,” Jones III said.
Can't say I'm shocked by this news at all and I actually support the decision. As I talked about a bit yesterday, Perry has every financial incentive in the world to make the jump now, even if his Baylor career didn't turn out the way we all wanted it to. Most mock drafts that I've seen have him around 10th in the lottery this year, and I don't know of anyone who seriously thought he would come back.
On that note, I think Perry Jones III is probably the best lesson in the history of Baylor Athletics that you shouldn't jump to conclusions. He came to Baylor with enormous expectations that largely went unfulfilled, and Baylor fans (myself definitely included) held that against him to an unreasonable extent. We assumed the problem was his desire. Why wouldn't we, considering his prodigious athletic gifts? Only later did most of us find out the kind of pressures and concerns he has been dealing with since he was in middle school. I think the vast majority of us that aren't elite recruits in any sport believe their lives have to be posh and easy without knowing that to be the case at all.
Anyway, if this news is true and Perry has decided to go pro, I wish him all the best. From the moment he got to Baylor, he carried himself with dignity and loved our school. Whatever unfulfilled expectations we may have of him as fans, we can only hope to have more Perry Jones III's walking the halls of Baylor University in the future.
UPDATE: I replaced the Goodman tweet at the beginning of the post with Baylor's official announcement.