Offseason objective for Curtis Jones: Change his body

  • 06/14/2017 8:13 am in

If all goes as planned this offseason for Curtis Jones, the rising sophomore will look totally different when he takes the court next fall in Bloomington.

The offseason objective laid out by Archie Miller recently in his comments at Huber’s Winery was clear: For Jones to reach his potential, he has to change his body.

The work to begin the transformation is already underway as Jones remained on campus this spring with four other players.

As a freshman, Jones got off to a terrific start by scoring 15 points in Indiana’s season-opening win over Kansas in Hawaii.

But that was one of just two games in which Jones scored in double figures all season. In four of IU’s final six games, he played three minutes or less. With James Blackmon Jr. moving on to the NBA draft, there could be a major opportunity for Jones to increase his minutes.

“We have to change Curtis’ body for his game to change,” Miller said on May 31 at Huber’s. “He’s on that. When he goes out there, people should say, ‘wow, he looks a lot different.’ And that’s going to give him a chance to be a better player. But he’s working hard at it.”

Jones, who arrived in Bloomington as the No. 40 player in the final ESPNU 100 for the class of 2016, was known primarily in high school for his ability to score.

That shooting ability was on display at times last season as Jones hit 35 percent of his shots from behind the 3-point line. Against Kansas, Jones hit a trio of 3-pointers in 16 minutes.

One key area where Jones needs to improve as a sophomore is in spot-up shooting situations. According to Synergy Sports, he scored just .87 points per possession in those situations as a freshman, which ranked in the 43rd percentile nationally.

Based on Miller’s comments, Jones is embracing hard work this offseason to make himself a better and more impactful player.

“Curtis has been great. Curtis was going to go home for about a four-week period of time,” Miller explained. “He changed his mind and now he’s been back the whole time. Just getting a chance to get to know him a little bit better and being with him everyday, great kid, tremendous energy level, is working extremely hard.”

If the transformation for Jones comes to fruition, he could be a major factor on Miller’s first IU roster.

With Blackmon Jr. moving on along with Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby, the Hoosiers are losing three of their four leading scorers. Reaching his potential begins with adding weight to his 175-pound frame.

“Curtis has to change his body for him to be a better player,” Miller said. “And he knows that. He’s aggressively going after that. I think he’ll be a better player in his sophomore year than he ever imagined. I also think that if he’s a better player than he ever imagined as a sophomore, we have a chance to be a better team.”

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  • TomJameson

    I think CuJo could do well this year. Hopefully he’s working on his shot as well as his body. That’s not to say he’s a terrible shot, I would just like to see him become Mr. Automatic. Also, adding a lot of muscle can affect your shot, so continuously working on it helps to keep it on track.

  • Hoosierkamp

    Everything that you read, Archie just has a way with getting through to these guys and he just makes you believe. Really like the guy

    I think Cujo was also on too short of a leash last year. I felt like he would get pulled unless he made his fist shot. Maybe that isnt true…. but would have loved to see more minutes from him in longer stretches too.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I felt the same way. Seemed like he would get pulled for a silly turnover but RJ, JBJ and JN could have 6 turnovers a game and nothing would happen except they’d get subtly blasted in the press conference. I think he is as good as we saw in that Kansas game. It wasn’t just him making shots, he made smart plays. Hit free throws and on that last play he had the presence of mind to break away from the full court press for an easy bucket. I think his confidence got ruined after he was punished for a few mistakes. That’s not to say that guys shouldn’t be punished for mistakes… but freshman need to be allowed to play through them.

  • Arch Puddington

    Here are some stunning numbers: from the Butler game on last year, a total of 25 games, CJ hit just 4 shots from inside the three point line, and only 3 free throws. He looked to me like player whose confidence was pretty low by the end of the year, and I frankly blamed it on whatever was going wrong with CTC and his handling of a team that obviously fell apart. But when CM makes such a big point of talking about improving his physique, and when I look at his numbers, maybe the problem was as much or more that he just couldn’t attack against the monsters of high D1 basketball. He came with a reputation as a versatile scorer, and I saw at least flashes of it in the pre-season scrimmages and the early games. Hopefully CM helps him develop both the physical strength and the confidence to be the aggressive, attacking SG he is capable of being.

  • SCHoosier

    Simply put..after the KU game..Cujo looked absolutely lost when he was on the floor..especially when asked to initiate the offense. Load of potential in this kid iMO..hope Archie can get it out of him.

  • inLinE6

    I saw a picture showing his triceps comparing before and after last year’s summer workout. That was significant. Would be interesting to know how much weight he gained from HS to freshman year, and also from freshman to sopho year.

  • iugradmark

    The late Al McGuire used to say “the best things about freshmen is that they become sophomores”. I think this is especially true for Cujo. He learned what it is like to be at a major program where your athletics cannot overpower other players. Archie has given him something tangible to focus on and to build confidence. I give Cujo credit for taking advantage of the opportunity and staying on campus and putting in the hard work to get better. It says a lot about the kind of kid and player he is and wants to be. Excited to see the new Cujo this season.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Just my 2 cents, but I think, like in most areas, Crean had a method that he believed worked and he stuck with it. In regards to utilizing freshman, unless they were truly elite (Zeller, TB, etc.) he brought them along slowly. We saw it with CJ last year on a short leash and limited minutes. We saw it with OG the year before, even though he looked excellent OG still played sparingly. For CJ it seemed to hurt his development and confidence. While for OG it seemed to benefit him by showing his potential in short spurts without exposing his limitations. All that to say there is no one size fits all approach for athletes. Let’s hope Archie is perhaps more flexible in his approach.

  • RDD#76

    You hit it he is not a point guard he is a slashing shooting guard played out of his comfort zone too much last year.

  • dwdkc

    I’m really bullish on this kid. I still can’t forget what I saw in that Kansas game. That really took some stones, and it also means he has it in him to be a special player. As many have commented, he did seem to lose his confidence and get out of synch for most of the year. But his speed, quickness, shooting ability and overall athleticism (he elevates quickly and effortlessly) are such that when he figures it out, watch out.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    CUJOim glad you stayed in b-town and puttin in work!! good for you. you can be a key piece of the puzzle this season!! GO HOOSIERS!!

  • KelvinSampson87

    CUJOs regression throughout last season was one the biggest oddities of last season. I love how Archie is able to bluntly challenge players and demand they work hard on their weaknesses while being encouraging and instilling conifidence at the same time. My hope is this creates the player buy in and purpose that seems to have been lacking last season

  • Jtime

    I’m most hopeful that Archie let’s our best players play longer stretches. CTC’s substitution patterns were frustrating for me. I love the bounce in Cujo’s step. He has great quickness and a decent shot. Hoping he can make the sophomore leap we’ve seen from some our other players recently.