Final Stats (31 games): 14.9 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.9 rpg, .9 spg, 39.9% FG, 27.3% from three.
In these last two seasons of frustration, disappointment and revolving lineups, if there’s been one player we can label as a constant — and I use the term somewhat loosely — it’s Verdell Jones.
When all semblance of an offense broke down, Jones was there to make something happen, whether it be by getting to the line, hitting a jumper or working his strong and varied mid-range game.
And Jones is about as close as this team has to clutch as well: He was instrumental in the win over Michigan at home on New Year’s Eve by hitting a big shot late, and he kept the Hoosier in contention against Purdue at home as well. (His turnoverfest at the end of regulation in the Northwestern win that almost cost Indiana the game not withstanding.)
He was far and away the team’s leader in free-throw attempts (129), and converted 79.1 percent of them, good for second on the team.
Jones also led the team in minutes (31.5) this season, as well as scoring among regulars (14.9). (Mo Creek averaged 16.4 before going down.) His large volume of minutes also led him to a team-high 87 turnovers (one more than Jeremiah Rivers), but his usage rate (23.4 percent) was the highest on the team as well.
Therefore, the turnovers are somewhat deceiving. And his turnover percentage bears that out: for the season, Jones’ was a respectable 13.4 percent.
But there are a few sour marks on Jones’ record from this season. His shooting percentage of 39.4 percent is nothing to write home about, and it dropped from his solid 44.5 percent a season ago. Same goes for his shooting beyond the arc: It dropped from 32.8 percent last season to 25.5 this year.
Jones was counted on for his scoring a lot when Creek went down, and it may have led to his poorer shooting percentages, as he was forced into creating when he had little space and forced the issue a bit.
The Bottom Line: Jones has been an integral part of the Hoosiers’ rebuilding process the last two years. That’s something that should continue next season. Assuming Creek returns to form, Jones will likely fall back to the second or third scoring option on the team, which is probably where he fits best — getting baskets and getting to the line when its crucial, but not doing so much that it drags down his overall game.
Filed to: Verdell Jones