When former Virginia Tech guard Jalen Cone announced his decision to transfer two weeks ago, some fans were surprised. Cone, who finished the season sidelined with an ankle injury, was a key reserve for head coach Mike Young over the last two seasons.
Over the weekend, Cone announced on Twitter he was choosing between seven schools. Oklahoma State, Indiana, Northern Arizona, Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa State and Buffalo were the schools Cone was interested in.
On Tuesday, Cone made his decision and chose the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
Considering some of the schools competing for Cone, this came as a bit of a surprise. Not only the distance, but playing for several of these schools would’ve kept Cone competing among the Power Five schools.
Perhaps playing for NAU gave Cone what he wanted the most and that was the chance to start at point guard. Hopefully, he gets that opportunity and thrives.
Cone told Jason Jordan of Sports Illustrated he enjoyed seeing Max Abmas of Oral Roberts dominate in March and can see himself making a similar impact at the mid-major level in 2022.
A sophomore, Cone has three years of eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 pandemic giving college athletes an extra year of eligibility.
Northern Arizona finished 6-16 in 2020-21 and plays in the Big Sky Conference.
“Just seeing what Max was able to do on the national level in March and the whole year had a major impact on my decision,” Cone said. “Seeing someone my size with similar skills have that type of impact was an eye opener for me.”
Cone played in 47 career games for the Hokies, averaging 8.4 points per game. He was a 41% shooter from 3-point range during his time in Blacksburg.
We wish Jalen nothing but the best in his career. We will miss him in Blacksburg.