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Dale Jones to leave Iowa men's basketball team

Hawkeyes confirmed the redshirt junior's departure Sunday

Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Fran McCaffery hugs senior Dale Jones (23) as he is recognized by a Senior Day ceremony prior to the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, March 5, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Fran McCaffery hugs senior Dale Jones (23) as he is recognized by a Senior Day ceremony prior to the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, March 5, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — While it was expected after he went through Senior Day activities, it was confirmed Sunday that Iowa forward Dale Jones will not be returning to the Iowa men’s basketball team for his final year of eligibility.

Hawkeyes Coach Fran McCaffery confirmed Jones’ decision Sunday, as first reported by Land of 10 and confirmed by Iowa officials. McCaffery said, “Dale made the decision a long time ago he wasn’t coming back,” at the team's award banquet Sunday night.

Jones played in just 11 career games over two seasons while at Iowa, dealing with a second torn ACL — his first while at Tyler College — in the 2015-16 season and then a broken wrist sidelining him this year. The Waterloo native averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in his 11 games as a Hawkeye. He had a career-high 11 points against Coppin State in his first season in Iowa City.

Jones got to start Senior Day, and scored that game’s first points with a 3-pointer from the wing, which was a Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd-pleaser, and a joyful moment for him, McCaffery and his teammates, they all said then.

While, according to McCaffery, Jones had his mind made up by that point, he didn’t say one way or the other after that game — leaving it as “an option,” at the time. Regardless, Jones was sure then he wants to keep playing.

“If the opportunity presents itself somewhere else where they want me to come in and be an immediate guy for them to score the ball, then that’s something I’m willing to do,” Jones said after the Penn State game. “It’s not going to stop (with Senior Day), whether I come back here or go somewhere else. I’m going to ride this out until the doctor tells me I can’t play anymore.”

Jones’ departure frees up one scholarship from next year’s roster, which welcomes Luka Garza, Jack Nunge and — while he still hasn’t signed — most likely Connor McCaffery.

l Comments: (319) 368-8884; jeremiah.davis@thegazette.com

 

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