When Hoiberg scanned the numbers from Dejean-Jones’ junior season at UNLV, there was a number that caught his eye that wasn’t all that impressive to him. He saw the 13.6 points per game average, and that was fine. He saw the 3.7 rebounds per game and was caught off guard.
“For whatever reason, he averaged less than four rebounds last year,” Hoiberg said Tuesday. “I told him before the year, ‘That’s embarrassing.’”
Dejean-Jones has taken the message to heart. He opened his Iowa State career with an 11-rebound performance against Oakland, tallying the first double-double of his career. Tuesday he tallied his second when he scored 12 points, added 10 rebounds and dished out eight assists in a 96-59 win over Lamar.
As Hoiberg scanned the stat sheet Tuesday night, his eye caught the rebounds. Dejean-Jones brought in nine in the first half alone before sitting the final 10 minutes of the blowout victory.
“It’s got to be programmed into him,” Hoiberg said, referencing rebounding. “He’s got to double that [four rebound average] for us to have a good year. You look at the lineups were played last year, the reason we were able to play small is because Dustin [Hogue] was a great rebounder at the three-spot. Right now with him basically playing the three, he’s got to go out there and get us eight rebounds a game.”
So far, so good. Dejean-Jones is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game in five contests, tallying less than seven in only one game (four against Alabama).
Hoiberg’s early message has been taken to heart, and the senior transfer is starting to enjoy the newfound part in his game.
“It’s just something I’ve become accustomed to doing,” Dejean-Jones said. “I’ve kind of started liking it, just getting in there trying to get every rebound.”