The transition into the new year always serves as a perfect time to start taking a closer look at draft boards and determining whose stock could climb. Each season, someone seems to emerge in an unforeseen manner. The weaker the draft, the more likely teams are going to swing for the fences or make safe, reliable choices. Although it’s gotten slightly more buzz over the last few months, the 2024 NBA Draft is slated to be one of the weaker in recent memory. However, this presents organizations with an opportunity to find overlooked pieces and turn them into hidden gems. The next potential candidate? Dillon Jones of Weber State.

For those who don’t follow Big Sky basketball or everything Jones has done during his career with the Wildcats, buckle up. Here’s a quick look at his year-by-year production (per

After earning Big Sky Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman, it didn’t take long for Jones to establish his presence as one of the top players in the league. In his three full seasons, he’s led the Big Sky in rebounds (x2) and steals (x1) in addition to several advanced metrics. However, Jones is about to burst through the glass ceiling with his current production. Right now, he’s leading the league in points, rebounds, assists, free throws attempted, free throws made, PER, total win shares (and both offensive and defensive), box plus/minus, defensive rating, and points produced. To reiterate, those are the categories where he ranks first. He’s legitimately towards the top of the Big Sky in every statistical measure–both traditional and advanced.

If someone were posting these numbers in the ACC or SEC, it would be the top story surrounding every draft discussion. Unfortunately, the Big Sky isn’t necessarily known for getting guys drafted. Since 2000, only six players from this league have been selected in the NBA draft (Dan McClintock, Kaniel Dickens, Rodney Stuckey, Damian Lillard, Tyler Harvey, and Joel Bolomboy). That being said, scouts have gotten past the sheen of conferences and started placing increased value on the specific individual over the last decade or so. This notion bodes extremely well for someone like Jones–who should be a real priority in June.

Diving a little deeper into the numbers, Jones currently sits at 1409 points, 976 rebounds, 318 assists, and 172 steals with roughly 15 games left in the season. Already, he is one of only 13 players to hit each of those marks since 1992-93. Let’s do some quick math and slightly raise those numbers to 1500, 1000, 350, and 185 (easily attainable based on his trajectory), and Jones will be one of only five. Let’s take a look at one more to show the uniqueness of his production. Since 2002-03, Jones is one of only three players to average at least 19 PPG, 10 RPG, and 4 APG with a PER of 28 or higher in a single season. The other two? Ben Simmons and Trayce Jackson-Davis.

It’s also worth comparing Jones’ totals with the most iconic player to emerge from Weber State, Damian Lillard. While the NBA star will likely maintain his status as the Wildcats’ leader in points, Jones has already surpassed him in blocks, steals, and rebounds while only trailing by 42 assists. What, if anything, does this mean for his projection going forward? Sure, Jones isn’t taking step-backs from the logo, but Lillard also doesn’t possess Jones’ level of versatility. We’ve seen guys like this find consistent success in the NBA, especially over the recent years. Adding a player who is comfortable rebounding, defending multiple positions, and making decisions with the ball in his hands is a clear advantage in today’s game. Lest we forget the fact that Jones is also shooting 39% from beyond the arc on nearly four attempts per game.

It’s somewhat difficult to determine exactly where Jones should fall in the 2024 NBA Draft, but he should certainly warrant attention as first-rounder. His experience and malleable identity (both on and off the court) should make him an appealing choice for several contending teams. Watching him as a young, high-level prospect in middle school and high school (both at Keenan and Sunrise Christian) was exciting, but his rise to superstardom was largely unforeseen. Regardless, let’s enjoy watching Jones shatter records while being one of the most dominant individuals in college basketball.