That’s A Wrap: Verdell Jones III

  • 03/18/2011 11:05 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to make some sense of the 2010-11 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on. Today: Verdell Jones III.

Final Stats (28 games): 12.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, 44.8% FG, 67.2% FT in 28.2 minutes per game

Let’s not get this twisted: Despite all the criticism that’s often hurled at him, Verdell Jones matters.

It may not be perfect and it may not happen all the time, but save for Jordan Hulls — who only began to figure it out late in the season, and who doesn’t have Verdell’s size — he’s really the only guy on this team that has the ability to penetrate the defense and create his own shot. And if you’re able to do that it 1) opens things up for your teammates, 2) gets you higher percentage looks and 3) gets you to the line.

Further, on a team filled with what often felt like just 3-point shooters and dunkers, Verdell’s silky mid-range game was something different to throw at an opponent. On defense, Tom Crean often switched styles — junk zones, man — to give the opposition a different look and keep them off rhythm.

On offense, Jones was Indiana’s different look.

Now, of course, this comes with flaw: Jones’ turnover rate (22.4 percent), was fourth worst on the team this season, with only Bobby Capobianco (25.3 percent), Jeremiah Rivers (31.0 percent) and Daniel Moore (33.5 percent) faring worse. Jones’ 3-point shooting (29.8 percent, 17-of-57) could stand some improvement.

But he had far and away the highest assist rate on the team (25.0, next closest was Hulls at 19.2 percent), which is, in part, due to his offensive skills listed above. And outside of Christian Watford (team-high 6.5 fouls drawn per 40 minutes, team-high 140 free throws attempted), Jones was really the only Hoosier that got to the line with any regularity (a second-best 5.4 fouls drawn per 40 minutes, 116 free throws attempted), doubling that of his PG counterpart Hulls (57 free throw attempts).

This matters.

(Oh, and let’s not forget Jones was hobbled by an ankle injury this season, one that caused him to miss three straight Big Ten games in late January.)

We’ve long talked about Indiana’s foul troubles this season, one that landed them with a 50.2 opponent free-throw rate, ranking them a horrific 334th in the nation in that category.

But outside of Hulls (2.5 fouls committed per 40 minutes) and Matt Roth (2.6 fouls per 40 minutes), Jones racked up the least amount of fouls on the team (3.0 fouls per 40 minutes).

Simply put: He was not part of Indiana’s most glaring problem this season.

Shining moment: A 24-point performance (9-of-10), four assist performance in a loss to Michigan on Jan. 15.

Bottom line: Jones may often frustrate and infuriate, but he does too many other good things not to have a significant role on this team with its current crop of talent. If Indiana fails to land an impact recruit at the one before next season, it’s a role that will likely continue.

Filed to:

  • Chrisahoosier

    I disagree with the statement, “He was not part of Indiana’s most glaring problem this season.” He may not have fouled as often as his peers, but his defensive play was horrific. So, if you just want to look at the fouling issue piecemeal, fine he didn’t foul much. Great…but, he got screened, he got blown by, and he got caught sagging. So, no he might not of fouled much, but maybe it’s because he isn’t playing defense. He does have a silky smooth mid-range game though.

  • ldiu

    What I like about VJIII, I like a lot. What I DON’T like about VJIII, I DON’T like a lot.

  • JerryCT

    Someday ,somehow he needs to make others around him better. Right now he just seems to be one on one with the ball and stationary w/o the ball. His assists always seem to me to be an accident.

    He is alot of ability so why is his defense so weak ?

    I hope next year he realizes his complete potential in the context of the team game.

  • marcusgresham

    I think that FT percentage may have been the most disappointing aspect of his game this season. There’s really no reason for a guy with such a strong pull-up 15-foot jumper to have such a low free throw percentage.

  • Casey B.

    I fear these post-season wrap-ups are being written through slightly crimson-colored glasses.

    The fact is, Jones’ net effect was a wash. Much the way Crean berated Watford after he scored 30 (for giving up that much on the defensive end), that’s how I feel about Jones. For every positive, there was a negative that brought the net effect back to zero.

    Yeah, he’d get to the line with some frequency, and then miss far too many free throws.

    Yeah, he’d create his own shot, and effectively nullify any other option on the court.

    Yeah, he’d penetrate the lane and pull up for a 15-footer, and try the same thing the next trip down, but dribble the ball off his foot and out of bounds.

    I have no fundamental issues with Jones because he’s in over his head and appears to work hard, but let’s step back and assess how the team plays with and without him.

    The ankle injury you mention coincided with probably our best three-game stretch of the season.

  • Keep_it_in_Indiana

    A player with great skill but lacking some of the physical attributes that would a.) make him a dominate offensive player and b.) allow him to be a reliable defender & rebounder. You need players with both in order to be a good / great team. Unfortnately for Verdell I am not sure how much the latter will improve. I do believe, however, that he can work on his footwork, speed, anticipation, upper body strength, ball protection and intensity. If he improves these intangibles his game could come together nicely. He has the focus. He has great skill. If he pulls it together he will be a big asset next year.

    Whether he does this or not though, unfortunately, will probably be a moot point next year due to, as Ryan alluded to, our talent level.

    At the end of the day. He is a great player to bridge us from where we are to where we are going. I respect that and I respect what he is doing for Indiana. He is a great kid. He deserves our support and he has mine!

  • IUJeff

    VJ III was a 75% FT shooter in high school and finished his career with 602 assists, ranking him sixth on the state of Illinois’ all-time list.

    If he’s going to continue at point, lets hope he gets back to that type of facilitator next year and lets the better 3-ball shooters put it up from long range.

  • Anonymous

    Two most common things out of my mouth when Verdell touched the ball this season:

    1. “OK, why did he do that….?”


    2. “Dude!”

    I think 1. was a little ahead.

  • Keep_it_in_Indiana

    Sometimes a simple analysis is the best analysis. I would agree with that assessment! I found myself saying the same thing, only with different expressions – “What the Eff!”

  • MillaRed

    Verdell is one of those kids that seems to have an average ceiling. He has been the same player the last two years, good and bad. I anticipate similar results next season.

    It’s a broken record philosophy, but once again if he had more talent around him he could be a solid role player off the bench. What we are asking him to do is too much. But it’s not like we have a lot of options either.

    I like Verdell. Not sure I thought we would get more than we already are when he committed. The team is so bad we are waiting for a hero and he’s just not made up that way.

  • MillaRed

    Verdell is one of those kids that seems to have an average ceiling. He has been the same player the last two years, good and bad. I anticipate similar results next season.

    It’s a broken record philosophy, but once again if he had more talent around him he could be a solid role player off the bench. What we are asking him to do is too much. But it’s not like we have a lot of options either.

    I like Verdell. Not sure I thought we would get more than we already are when he committed. The team is so bad we are waiting for a hero and he’s just not made up that way.

  • Braxdavi

    I believe the Hoosiers best basketball was played when Verdell was out of the lineup this year. Yes, he has a great mid range shot, but this should not excuse his poor attitude, head scratching shot selection (majority coming from 1 step inside the 3 point line), or his non existent leadership skills. I would really like to see coach Crean move away from his love of Verdell next season.

  • Anonymous

    The two biggest criticisms of Jones are his turnovers and lax defense. I felt that VJ’s defensive effort and ability improved toward the end of the year. I believe he also kept his head up better on drives and reduced his turnovers over the course of the season. So, it seems those issues are being addressed, which makes me more comfortable about his contributions in his senior season.

  • Anonymous

    This article misses on the leadership issue. It seems clear that CTC was pushing Jones to be the floor leader of this team, but Jones seemed tentative. When he did get in someone’s face for a percieved mistake, he was either wrong or simply didn’t have the respect of his teammates and arguments ensued. To be a leader and hold others accountable, he has to have a solid understanding of what everyone’s role is and how the team works together within the system. I don’t feel like VJ has that kind of understanding of the game, the system, or this team. Can VJ lay claim to the leadership of this team next year as a senior? If he is not the leader, then will he accept whatever his role is next year?

    IMO, these are the things that will determine success in the coming season. We will start to have the cogs in place to make the system work, but will the team work together within the system? That will come down to real leadership from Jones, even if that means having the wisdon to let someone else lead.

  • IUDan

    Jerry I could not agree more – as I read your comments I kept thinking that you put your finger on exactly what frustrates me at times about Verdell – clearly he’s skilled, but it sems like too much one-on-one and not enough getting anyone else involved.

    And if he’s not shooting well, at times we get nearly nothing from him. Good players find another way to contribute.

    I hope he puts it all together and has a great senior year.

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree. Anytime he had the ball with under 12 seconds on the shot clock, it was “oh god here we go….”

  • InTheMtns

    His FT percentage was 67%, hitting only 78 of 116. If getting to the line with regularity is important, then missing a third of your attempts surely diminishes the importance. Especially when so many of the misses came at critical times when we needed to score. I agree, Marcus, that it’s puzzling why a guard with such a pretty 15-foot jumper can’t be a better FT shooter. My own take on it is focus and concentration, but I might be only 67% correct.

  • Anonymous

    The sooner he cares more about whether Indiana wins and loses and not whether VJIII plays good or bad, he’ll improve drastically. He’s a good player and he’s an important player for IU but the team plays better when the ball is shared and moved instead of when he’s just dribbling it out top. When the team plays better he’ll be seen as a better player, until then he’ll continue to be a decent player on a bad team.

  • Chesterz09

    why is it always about offensive stats he and watford give up more points than they score

  • Anonymous

    I think he is a leader, just not the fiery on-court leader. I seem to recall CTC stating that Verdell seems to be the guy the recruits flock to when they’re on their visits, which shows leadership qualities to me; he’s just not the “in your face” guy on the court.

  • Kelin Blab

    Picture Fact.
    The kid right under Watfords chin is PJ Thompson freshmen PG from Brebuf. AAU teammate of Bluiett, Lyles, and Blackmon and a very good kid and player

  • Kfdchev

    “He was not part of Indiana’s most glaring problem this season.” REALLY ? Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t this guy have 89 assist and 83 turnovers in 28 games….they left that stat out. That alone should have him pickin splinters. Not the numbers I woulkd think would make you happy about your PG production for the season.

  • Kelin Blab

    I will say it again….Creans “Dribble” drive system requires ALOT of dribble and not a pure point guard. So to critique VJ’s huge amounts of dribbling makes no sense to me since that is what the offense requires and he is the ONLY person on our team that can consistently get his own shot. We all know VJ isn’t a PG, VJ knows he isn’t a PG as well. IU won ONE game without VJ this year….so this magical stretch of great basketball didn’t produce but ONE win.

  • JerryCT

    VJ3 has tons of ability but I remain disappointed in 3 things:

    1) for as much time as he and Hulls have the ball they get very few assists for “PGs” playing at high level

    2) VJ3 should be better from 3pt land

    3) He could be a good defender with his long arms but isn’t

    Again IMHO, his sitting was not the reason we won games. It was the extended minutes Pritchard was finally able to play was a consistent theme is almost all our close games.