Matt Jones working to diversify his game

Duke bound scoring guard Matt Jones is known for being a shooter, but by the time he arrives in Durham, the 6-foot-5 Texan wants to be more than that.

Although Matt Jones committed to play basketball for Duke back in November, that hasn't kept the 2013 shooting guard out of the gym. The De Soto, Texas native recently spoke with TDD at the EYBL in Minneapolis and showed a much-improved dribble-drive game.

Jones has helped lead the Team Texas Titans to an 8-1 start in Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League, which played back-to-back weekends in Eagan, MN., and Hampton, VA., to end April and the live evaluation period.

Duke coaches, including Coach K, trailed Jones and the Titans and Matt responded by averaging 17.7 points per game, good enough for 12th overall in the EYBL.

"Playing in the EYBL has been great because you're playing guys you might be playing in college," Jones said. "You're ahead of everyone else by playing in this league."

Jones is also happy to be back with his Texas Titans teammates, who he has formed a deep bond with over the years on the AAU circuit.

"I've been playing with these guys since 5th grade," Jones explained. "It's a dream coming true traveling and playing basketball and taking trips with them."

Though Jones is surrounded by a talented supporting cast, plenty of attention comes to five-star forward Julius Randle, a Duke recruiting target that is currently rated No. 2 overall in the class by Matt often benefits from the superior passing abilities of Randle when defenses collapse on Julius.

"Julius sees everything. Not too many guys can make plays that he makes," Jones said. "He's relentless. It's kinda hard not to have him at No. 1 but I'm probably a bit biased. He proves it on a daily basis."

Matt has also been in the ear of Julius and a few other players about joining him at Duke.

"I talked to Theo Pinson a little bit. I'm gonna try to talk to Jabari Parker," Jones said. "(With) Julius, it's easy for me to whisper in his ear, but I'm slowly making my way around to talking to the Duke recruits."

While Matt has played the role of recruiter, he's also made vast strides in his game. Jones showed marked improvement off-the-dribble, and was confident putting the ball on the floor.

"I've been working relentlessly. I was getting tired of people telling me I was a spot-up shooter," Jones said. "I work on everything relentlessly. I'm just working hard and since I'm committed, I'm just staying hungry and trying to show my coaches that I'm improving. I want to come in and be ready to play on the college level from day one."

The Duke coaching staff recently spoke with Matt on what they would like to see him improve.

"Defending, ball handling, and being more vocal. They want me to be a team leader," Jones said. "When the game's on the line, I want to be that guy that wants to stop the other team's best player."

Jones has also taken to working on other parts of his game in his latest workouts.

"Lately it's about being more versatile and better defensively," Jones said. "I'm taking pride in my defense because defense ultimately wins championships. I'm just trying to do what Coach K wants me to do and be a good teammate."

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