July's Ballhandler: Tyus Jones

If you asked a college coach, scout or fan to name Tyus Jones' primary asset, likely no one would mention his dribbling.

But among his various abilities, and clearly he possesses a great many, Tyus Jones gets our vote as the best ball-handler in the Class of 2014.

Everything is inter-connected. Perhaps no one would list Jones' dribbling as his most valuable skill, but everyone would acknowledge that his superb ball-handling contributes heavily to his most heralded talent: scoring.

As the best player on the court in nearly any contest, Jones has become accustomed to fierce, tactic-driven defense. He isn't especially tall (6-0) for point guard and doesn't possess mind-blowing quickness, so teams regularly attempt to pressure him out top or trap him with superior length.

But rarely do they find success. Jones is a sure-handed dribbler who doesn't get loose with the ball or allow it to float toward his chest. He uses both hands adroitly and obviously utilizes his dribbling to set up jumpers and drives. And because he's so adept at handling pressure, he keeps his team in its offense and maintains calm when opponents scramble in an effort to create turnovers.

Meanwhile, in the same way that his ball-handling sets up his scoring, I also must note that his scoring sets up his ball-handling. Because he's an ever-present threat to pull up for a deadly jump shot or whip a pass to a teammate, foes are less likely to challenge his dribble in a one-on-one situation.

The bottom line is that, when evaluating players as talented and complete as Jones, it's difficult to parse out any one attribute as the success ringleader. He's too good at too many things to label as "Mr." anything, but here I've gone and done it anyway.

Suffice it to say, whichever school signs Jones will appreciate his dribbling proficiency very quickly. A point guard's ability to manage turmoil and puncture vulnerable opposition largely comprises his most urgent duties. He's the pacesetter and, as such, Jones' dribbling skill allows him to carry out those assignments with aplomb.

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