Averaging just 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting a respectable 50 percent from the floor in 12 minutes per game this season, Jones still had to prove he was capable of being a starter when Hubbard went out with a torn ACL.
“After [Hubbard] went down I didn’t make the starting lineup right away,” Jones said. “I just kind of worked myself in there and tried to help the team wherever I could.”
Since then, Jones has started the last four games and six of the last seven. He has performed well above his season and career averages and has improved rapidly. Most notable has been his performance over the last three games. Against Northern New Mexico College he set a career high with 14 points and then went on to match that number at NJIT as well as setting career highs in both blocks and minutes played. Two days later against Pacific Union, Jones broke his career high again with 18 points.
One could safely say that Jones is playing out of his mind right now, and the stat chart would agree. Over that three-game stretch he averaged 29.7 minutes, 15.3 points, six rebounds, and 1.7 blocks, all while shooting a bolstering 61.2 percent from the floor along with 99.3 percen from the free-throw line.
There is a remarkable amount of unselfishness on the men’s basketball team, and Jones is no exception to this. The drive to do good for his brothers rather than himself seems to be what has pushed him to play at this high of a level more than anything else.
“Just this morning one of the assistant coaches, Coach [Mike] Kelly, texted me and told me it was awesome to see me taking advantage of this opportunity,” Jones said. “It means a lot to me when they say that, it just boosts my confidence that much more and makes me feel like I’m doing good and helping out my teammates because that’s what it’s all about. It’s for the team you know.”
With just four games left before the Great West Conference Championship, Jones seems to have picked it up just at the right time. While he recognizes that the team may not be as athletic as they were last year, Jones knows most important for his team to bring another title back to UVU.
“We’ve got to make the least amount of mistakes possible, and play smart, and play for each other, and play together,” Jones said. “It’s crucial we win these games down the stretch going into Chicago.”
By Weston Brierley