There was no player that took the loss to Michigan State harder than freshman point guard Tre Jones. He was tasked with stopping Cassius Winston thus stopping the surging Michigan State Spartans. On the last play Winston was able to escape the tenacious defense of Jones, forcing the young guard to watch as his man stole away a championship that seemed like destiny for the talented Blue Devils. Jones officially announced that he is returning for his sophomore season. The #29 ranked NBA prospect
Jones’s impact on next year’ Duke team could very well change the landscape of recruiting for not only 2019 but also 2020. Reports that five-star recruit RJ Hampton is considering reclassification for the 2019 season so he can team up with Tre Jones can reshape the look of a team that will be filling major holes next season. When you lose 3 of your 5 starters and pretty much all of your offense it will be a transition to say the least.
If RJ Hampton does not reclassify and Mathew Hurt decides to play elsewhere Duke will still have a formidable starting lineup.
PG: Tre Jones
SG: Alex O’Connell
SF: Wendell Moore
PF: Javin Delaurier
C: Vernon Carey Jr.
With a bench that consists of Boogie Ellis, Marques Bolden, Joey Baker, Jordan Goldwire and Jack White the Blue Devils will have a mixture of young players and veterans. Jones’s will need to develop his offensive game next season for Duke to be successful. He must improve on his 26% 3-point shooting but his command of the offense will be much more present next season with the losses of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Both of the latter were ball centric players that need it to be successful. Jones will now be tasked with running the Blue Devils.
The minutes of O’Connell will help the shooting percentages of the team, but I am excited to see the overall numbers increase that Jones will have with more time with the ball. Jones will not be forced to just sit on the outside and wait for a kickout from Zion. He will be the penetrator and the kicker. Jones will find himself in a new role wear his skill will be able to accompany his already existing leadership skills.