Previous Report Cards: Talor Battle (A)
- Offensive Efficiency – Drew actually had the highest Offensive Rating on the team this year. He also posted some very impressive shooting percentages – 57.9% FG%, 57.9% eFG%, 61.1% True%. Even more impressive, Drew led the Big Ten in Floor % (59.1%), which if you didn’t know, measures the percentage of Drew’s offensive possessions in which there was at least one point scored.
- Improvement – It’s not often you see players’ numbers actually improve throughout the course of the season. That’s generally because conference play is much more competitive compared to non-conference play. However, Drew’s game and his numbers were on a steady trend upward. Over the last 18 games, Jones averaged 7.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG. While his season FT% doesn’t look great, Drew actually made 43-56 (76.7%) ever since December 31st against Northwestern. His improved stroke from the line is the reason he had the highest Free Throw Rate on the team (55.9%). Jones’ overall improvement against stiffer competition is certainly encouraging.
- Rebounding- Cornley’s a warrior, but I felt this year that Drew was clearly our best rebounder. He posted a 10.3% offensive rebounding % and a 17.6% defensive rebounding %, both of which led the team despite Cornley’s team-leading 6.4 RPG. Whenever Drew wasn’t in the game, I felt our rebounding suffered. He should at least get credit for boxing out for half of Talor Battle’s rebounds. Drew posted 11 games of 8+ rebounds, including five 10+ games. He was ranked in the top 10 of basically every Big Ten rebounding category.
- Usage – I was annoyed at how little Drew was being used towards the end of the year. Anyone with functional eyes could see how much Jones was improving and how comfortable he was becoming on the court. I felt like he deserved a shot to prove he could be a reliable inside presence. But looking at KenPom’s numbers, I’m even more appalled at his usage, or lackthereof. Drew Jones had the lowest Possession % (just 13.9%) on the team. When he was in, even Andrew Ott did more, or at least attempted to. It really puts an asterisk next to all those great shooting percentages, since he took so few shots. Andrew’s buckets were scored in 2 primary ways – uncontested layups/dunks set up by our guard’s penetration and tips/putbacks from offensive boards. We should have called him the Garbage Man this season. To his credit, he did score on quite a few baby-hooks and a couple mid-range jumpers, as well. But I’d say those moves made up maybe 15% of his points. Everything else came from cleaning up the garbage or from the charity stripe.
- Hands – Pretty self-explanatory. Drew missed quite a few opportunities because he couldn’t hang onto the ball. He could use a lot of work in this area.
Andrew’s story has been well-documented ever since he has arrived here. Everyone knows he didn’t start playing organized basketball until he was a sophomore in high school. That was always used as the excuse for his slow development and raw game and for why he was redshirted. But that excuse is no longer valid. Jones will be a 4th year junior next season. He’s the prime candidate to replace the void inside Cornley is leaving. We’ll see what he can do with expectations. It’s not going to be as easy as it was this season, since he’ll be ‘the guy’ down low that defenders will be keying on. He’s going to have to learn how to create his own points.
Best Performance of the Year
- vs Notre Dame – 16 points, 5-6 FG, 15 rebounds
This was not as easy a choice as many might believe. I really considered Jones’ 12 point, 9 rebound performance in the Breslin Center. He was the primary reason that game why we held our own on the boards against one of the best rebounding teams in the country. However, winning a head-to-head matchup with a 2nd team All-American kind of speaks for itself. Many people have tried to claim that Harangody just had an ‘off night’ shooting, but I don’t buy it. While yes, he missed quite a few shots he normally makes, I don’t think people realize the difficulty of the shots he takes in the first place. They aren’t gimmes. Jones was physical with him without getting into foul trouble and frustrated Luke. I really thought Harangody was going to get whatever shot he wanted going into the game, but Jones stepped up big that game.
Final Grade: B-
This was a very, very tough season to grade for Jones. He improved so much and put up some great numbers, but he had such a limited role. However, I’d be remissed if I went through this whole report without mentioning the impact 1st year assistant Lewis Preston had on Jones. Drew’s entire game improved – everything from footwork to defense to rebounding. The former foul-machine lowered his FC per 40 rate from 5.1 last year to 3.7 this season. He was in foul trouble a lot less this year. What’s even more encouraging is it looks like Jones is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. I still don’t know about that NBA potential DeChellis said he had when they redshirted him, but he can definitely develop into a force down low. So overall, while Jones took a big step in the right direction in his development, he still only averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds. B- is the grade. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Jones’ game for the future, though.