ITH Super Happy Fun Time Player Profile: Verdell Jones

  • 10/08/2009 4:07 pm in

showHoosier Hysteria is on the horizon and it’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2009-2010 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Verdell Jones.

In a year of horrific gosh-they-just-play-so-hard basketball, Verdell Jones was a pleasant surprise. Whether he’s anything more than that — whether he’s a legitimate Big Ten point guard, or merely a seat-saver for the likes of Jeremiah Rivers — is the predominant question facing him in 2009-10.

But first, his 2008-09. Jones was second on the team in minutes in 2008-09, which, considering the frequency with which Daniel Moore played, is a testament to how bad the Hoosiers were last year; there were times when Jones and Moore actually shared the floor. Jones was second on the team in points per game to Devan Dumes, but he did it at a more efficient rate, with a slightly better effective field goal percentage than Dumes. (Dumes made more threes, though, so take that as you will.) But Dumes, as turnover-prone and erratic as he was, actually committed fewer turnovers than Jones, who gave the ball away over three times a game. That is not good, especially not from a point guard.

The real revelation with Verdell Jones comes in the eye test. He has the calm, casual manner of someone used to controlling games. He can hit outside shots and slash to the rim — his slash is more of glide, but you know what I mean — and his passing ability is probably his best attribute. Even with explosive recruits on the horizon, the Hoosiers still need scoring; if Jones can provide an extra threat, all the better.

Bottom Line: Jones should share time with Jeremiah Rivers — both could start, actually — and be more productive than he was in his none-too-shabby rookie campaign. He needs to get stronger and more physical and less turnover prone. But hey, that’s what the offseason’s for, right? Jones’ progress will be interesting to watch.

Quotable: Here’s Tom Crean discussing Jones’ individual offseason workouts on September 9:

The bit on positional flexibility will be important, too, seeing as Jones could be a bit of a tweener when Rivers, not to mention Dumes, is on the floor. I’m intrigued.

Filed to:

  • psvirsky

    Not sure if there is any basis for it, but I have always thought of Jones as more of a 2 guard, or at the very least, a combo guard. I imagine that with more experience he can run an offense, but just because he can pass doesn't mean he's a PG. Plus, he's got some height and length so he should be able to defend opposing 2's as well. With Rivers and Hulls around (and Carlino coming and possible another PG recruit as Crean has been pushing for), I get the feeling that Jones will play more at the 2.

    I think that running a traditional PG with two guys from the Dumes/Jones/Creek combo feels good. No matter who it is you'll have a pair of wings who can drive and shoot and should be able to D up as well. Then we can either play the trio with a couple of big men for a traditional lineup or we can put Watford at the 4 and have more of a run and gun lineup (Elston could perhaps fill that role as well if he is as athletic as people say he is).

    Anyways, as you can probably tell, this is all very speculative and based more my own gut instinct. Regardless, I'm excited to see how much Jones can progress and how we'll use him in the lineup.

  • Hardwood83

    I too will be surprised if VJ3 is running point. With the bulk he's added and the flashes he showed last season I expect him to provide minutes & points from the 2 guard especially early in the season while everyone else figures out what they're doing.

  • GFDave

    I look forward to VJ3 being a solid contributor this year. He's going to be stronger, more experienced and relieved of the point guard duties to which he is not that well suited. If he plays within himself and stops trying to split every double team he sees, he'll be in fine shape.

  • JerryCT

    Jones is our best player right now in my opinion and he will be my point/click choice most games. I see Devin Harris written all over him. I am glad his PG duties will be limited but he might be the leader we seem to be searching for wherever he plays

  • JerryCT

    In perspective he was our :

    1) 2nd scorer
    2) 2nd in returnign players in Rebs
    3) had 100 assists ie #1
    4) 70% on the free throw line
    5) 2nd in FG % from 2 pt area
    6) 3rd in 3 pt %

    Dumes by the way would be my other regular choice whose stats are comparable except for assists

  • CreamandCrimson

    I agree with a lot of what you guys are saying. Jones was certainly the best player on the team for most of the Big Ten season. I thought there were games near the end of the season where he looked like an All-Big Ten performer.

    His long arms are a plus and I think he could become a really strong defender on the perimeter. He needs to get a little bit stronger finishing around the basket and his three point shot could certainly be better. I would be shocked if he played point guard at all this season. Rivers and Hulls should handle most of that and VJIII will be freed up to concentrate on scoring.

    Based on Crean's Marquette teams, I expect VJIII to be paired with Rivers and either Creek or Dumes (I think Creek) in a three guard lineup. It was a pleasure to watch Jones improve last season and I look forward to more of the same this year.

  • aerialM

    VJ was a real surprise last year, and when you look at where he was as a player when the season started and where he was when it ended (keeping in mind the concussion in december) it truly is a testament to his work ethic and devotion to getting better. I'm really excited to see him this season. All accounts have him bulked up and with a bit of a swagger. Great! I too see him as more of a scoring guard, handling the ball at times, but for the most part, he's going to slash and hit the open shots. Obviously, he's got to cut down his turnovers, but with an improved physique and some work on his ball-handling, that should be no problem. I think he's a starter from day 1 and continues to build into a solid all around B10 player. VJIII 2.0 let it be!

  • CreamandCrimson

    I agree with a lot of what you guys are saying. Jones was certainly the best player on the team for most of the Big Ten season. I thought there were games near the end of the season where he looked like an All-Big Ten performer.

    His long arms are a plus and I think he could become a really strong defender on the perimeter. He needs to get a little bit stronger finishing around the basket and his three point shot could certainly be better. I would be shocked if he played point guard at all this season. Rivers and Hulls should handle most of that and VJIII will be freed up to concentrate on scoring.

    Based on Crean's Marquette teams, I expect VJIII to be paired with Rivers and either Creek or Dumes (I think Creek) in a three guard lineup. It was a pleasure to watch Jones improve last season and I look forward to more of the same this year.

  • aerialM

    VJ was a real surprise last year, and when you look at where he was as a player when the season started and where he was when it ended (keeping in mind the concussion in december) it truly is a testament to his work ethic and devotion to getting better. I'm really excited to see him this season. All accounts have him bulked up and with a bit of a swagger. Great! I too see him as more of a scoring guard, handling the ball at times, but for the most part, he's going to slash and hit the open shots. Obviously, he's got to cut down his turnovers, but with an improved physique and some work on his ball-handling, that should be no problem. I think he's a starter from day 1 and continues to build into a solid all around B10 player. VJIII 2.0 let it be!