Jones performance in the tournament didnt raise his stock as much as it reaffirmed to everyone watching just how versatile of a defender he is and how valuable his presence on the floor can be in important situations.
People often say that a player can guard any position on the floor, from 1-5, but rarely do we see this ever happen to way we did tonight. Jones drew the assignment of defending Illinois best player, Dee Brown
, to start off the game, a point guard who is 7 inches shorter and significantly faster than him. He did a fantastic job bothering him and disrupting Illinois entire offense, helping his team hold them to 4-25 shooting in the first fifteen minutes of the game, and forcing Brown into possibly the worst stretch of his season. When 6-10 center James Augustine
started getting hot it was Jones who was asked to defend him, and again did a terrific job keeping the ball out of his hands.
Offensively it was the same story weve grown accustomed to all year, a short jumper from the post, a lay-up and a couple of missed threes. His ball-handling and perimeter shooting skills arent enough to allow him to do much more, and even if they did, Jones is probably too unselfish to make that happen.
Whether there is a place in the NBA for a player in his mold is a question well only have the answer to in a few months. Logic would say that a player with his attitude and outstanding intangibles would get some serious looks considering what a game changer he can be with his defensive ability, along with the fact that hes shown the ability the hit the open 3-pointer at a good clip in the past, a la Bruce Bowen
. Hes the kind of player that could really make some fans for himself amongst NBA executives if he does what he does best at a pre-draft camp or two.