Jalen Cone is off to become a Lumberjack.
The Walkertown native, who played basketball for two seasons at Virginia Tech, tweeted on Tuesday an intention to transfer to Northern Arizona.
The Lumberjacks, from Flagstaff, Ariz., went 6-16 in the 2020-21 season.
Five of their games from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13 were canceled. When the Lumberjacks returned, they dropped their final four regular-season games, pairs to Weber State and Southern Utah. Northern Arizona defeated Portland State in the Big Sky Tournament but then lost to Eastern Washington to close the season.
Four Northern Arizona players, among more than 1,200 in 353-school Division I, have entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to VerbalCommits.com. Two are the Lumberjacks’ leading scorers from the season, and they have found new destinations: Cameron Shelton (19.2 points) to Loyola Marymount and Luke Avdalovic (10.8 points) to Pacific.
Cone, who is 5 feet 10 and 165 pounds, battled an injury during the 2020-21 season and averaged 9.2 points in 20 minutes per game for Virginia Tech (15-7).
“He just wanted a little bigger role,” Cone’s father, Harold Cone, told the Roanoke (Va.) Times’ Mark Berman in March. “My son has a desire to play at the next level, the NBA.
“He would like to handle the ball a little bit more and do some different things and just felt like his role at VT was more catching the ball and shooting it. He got known to be a great shooter there. But … he always wanted to kind of show some more and wanted to be able to be in a situation where he can show some more. ...
“He said, ‘Dad, I want to show that I can do a little bit more than that.’ The goal is to be able to have the ball in his hands and be a little bit more creative with it.”
Shane Burcar was named Northern Arizona’s head coach in March 2020 after serving the 2019-20 season as interim head coach.