You Remind Me Of...: Matt Jones

It's always helpful for fans to have a point of reference when learning about new players that will be in Duhram on a year to year basis. Often, it's helpful to compare a new recruit to a former Blue Devil. We've done just that with the help of the Scout.com national recruiting team and Duke historian/author Jim Sumner.

When looking for the best formula for comparison, we decided on a three-step process:

First, we asked the Scout.com national recruiting team of Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, and Josh Gershon to provide a scouting report of each of the incoming freshmen as well as some of the top Duke targets in the class of 2014.

Next, we compiled the data and then removed the names associated with each player card.

Finally, those blank player cards were presented to Mr. Sumner. We asked Jim to name the first former Blue Devil that came to mind based on the scouting report.

Here's the result…

Matt Jones
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 180 pounds Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Scout.com Scouting Report:

  • Quick Release
  • Range on his jump shot to 23 feet
  • Very good in the catch and shoot game
  • Needs to get stronger
  • Average athleticism
  • Rarely turns the ball over
  • Solid in the mid-range game
  • Average ball handling skills
  • Average with his change of pace

Quick Description: One of the best catch and shoot players in the class, he is a solid athlete, but is mostly a shooter with length. A solid positional defender, he isn't great laterally but gives effort and cares about getting better and being the best player he can be.

Sumner Says…: Jon Scheyer (2007-2010)

Interestingly enough Scheyer will be part of the coaching staff charged with helping Matt Jones develop his game over the next four seasons. Like Jones, Scheyer came to Duke with the reputation of a knock-down shooter from the perimeter, but he worked hard to evolve his game over his four years in Durham.

Part of that evolution in Scheyer's game was the improvement in ball-handling and other necessary point guard skills as the Chicago native ended up as the starting point guard on Duke's most recent national championship team - a season in which he averaged 4.8 assists per contest, while maintaining a 2.99 to 1 assist to turnover ration.

In four years, Scheyer never averaged fewer than 11.7 points per game and finished his career with 2,077 points to rank 10th on Duke's all-time scoring list. He ranks third all-time at Duke in made free throws (608) and free throw percentage (.861), fourth in three-point field goals (297) and three-point field goal attempts (780) and sixth in free throw attempts (706). He played in 144 consecutive games, tied for the second-longest streak in school history.

While it is unlikely that the Duke roster makeup will force Jones to evolve into a point guard, the idea of improving his ability to play with the ball in his hands wasn't lost on Jones as he went through his senior campaign at De Soto High and then into the All-Star game circuit.

"I've been working on my dribble, improving my athleticism, and just showing that I can compete with anyone. I've heard for a while, but I haven't heard it as much this year because I've been putting the work in and it's showing now."

While their games are similar, it may be asking a lot for Jones to put up numbers that are even close to the Illinois product, primarily because Jones' projected role is so much different than the situation in Durham in 2006-2007.

Scheyer arrived at Duke and was immediately thrust into the starting lineup as a freshman. Throughout the 2007 season he appeared in 33 games, starting 32 of those contests, and playing an average of 33.7 minutes per game. The next season, however, Scheyer came off the bench in 33 of the team's 34 contests, and played an average 28.3 minutes per game.

Playing anywhere close to the more than 1,100 minutes logged by Scheyer in 2007 would be somewhat unexpected for Jones, who joins a roster with Rasheed Sulaimon and Andre Dawkins as scoring guards; and the small forward position just as crowded with likely NBA first round pick Rodney Hood expected to start with third year player and former five star recruit Alex Murphy, and five star, Parade All-American Semi Ojeleye also listed as small forwards.

Instead of heavy minutes early on, expect Jones to provide instant offense off the bench when Duke goes small and plays as many as four guards around one post - similar to the International game Coach K has developed with Team USA.


About Jim Sumner: Jim Sumner specializes in southern sports. He is a columnist for Go Duke: The Magazine, Inside Carolina magazine, Duke Basketball Report and College Chalktalk.com. Sumner is a regular contributor to The Associated Press, the Durham Herald-Sun, the Wolfpacker, Basketball Times, ACC Sports Journal, ACCSports.com, GoDuke.com, Tar Heel Tipoff and Blue Devil Tipoff. He has written for The ACC Handbook, Baseball America, Duke Magazine, Basketball America, Our State, Metro Magazine, and numerous other magazines, journals, and websites.

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