Today we will be wrapping up the senior class. The plan is from here on out to bump up the number of these posts from one week to four week. That way we can cover each class in the span of a week leading up to the season. It works out perfectly because there are four sophomores and four freshmen to go with the four remaining juniors. So without further ado I give you the final senior on the roster this year, Verdell Jones III.
Verdell Jones III – Senior
Central High School – Champaign, Illinois
6'5" – 195 lbs.
VJ III has been somewhat of an anomaly wrapped in an enigma. The 2008 graduate of Central High School in Champaign, Illinois came out of high school ranked 28th among senior point guard's nationally. He was rated unearned 27th best prospect overall it was a three-year starter at his prep high school. An Illinois all-state selection in his senior year garnered him plenty of attention from schools in the region. In the end, he chose the Hoosiers over the likes of Minnesota and Illinois.
As a freshman he started in 25 of the 28 games he played and finished second on the team averaging 11 points per game. He also led the team with 100 assists and was 10th in the Big Ten in that category. Unfortunately, to go with that 100 assists he had 99 turnovers, thus starting a trend of by far the weakest point of his game. Over the next two years he had 87 and 83 turnovers respectively. This is where Jones is shown he has had issues in his game which is otherwise fairly well-rounded. As can be seen on his rankings on all all-time scoring list with IU (33rd) he can certainly fill up the basket.
Last year was definitely an improvement with some help from an improved sophomore class and the threat of losing playing time twosome promising freshmen. Jones showed he is a major threat with the ball in his hand because of the nearly automatic 15 foot pull-up jumper in his arsenal. Unfortunately for him injuries hampered him somewhat and he lost time to freshmen Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey who were more of a known commodity than the inconsistent and injured Jones. He finished the season on somewhat of a high note just missing out on a double-double against Illinois (12 pts. 8 rebounds) and had a decent showing in the Big Ten Tourney against Penn State.
The expectations for this season will be mixed for Jones. Some fans likely expect him to be a starter and to provide roughly 11 to 12 points a game. Other fans, because of his turnover ratio, like to see his playtime cut in half from about 28 min. a game to 15 min. a game. All of it really depends on how he can handle the ball. If Oladipo shows to be a more athletic two guard that can take care of the ball he will get the majority of the playing time. However, if Jones can show that he can cut down on the turnovers and continue with the high assist numbers, then he should be in the starting five and playing 30 min. a game. I'm going to ask for something in the middle. I will say if he can get 20 min. a game, 8 to 9 points per game, and get his assistant turnover ratio closer to two than one then he would be a valuable addition to the floor instead of a liability. I think that would constitute a successful season for Jones in a good way to send him off in the sunset as a valuable member of the Hoosier rebuilding effort.