OAKLAND--Pitt guard Chris Jones was never the most chiseled guard in Pitt's back court.
In fact, when Pitt coach Kevin Stallings came through the door at Pitt over the winter, Stallings noticed that Jones' body wasn't where it needed to be.
"I think Chris got the message when I started calling him 'Pillsbury Dough Boy'" Stallings said Friday before Pitt's first practice of the season. "I said so lovingly, but I would go up to him and poke him in his tummy and see if he would laugh like in the old commercial."
Jones laughs it off.
"I knew it was a joke. But all jokes hold truth," Jones said. "I had all the body fat and chubby weight."
So, Jones, with the help of Pitt Strength and Conditioning coach Garry Christopher, slimmed down some from 220 pounds to 214 pounds. But mainly the senior from Teaneck, NJ., has focused on re-defining his body altogether.
"He is one of the best-conditioned guys we have here right now. I would say that Chris Jones has impressed me and made as much progress in the six months that I've been here as anybody on our team."
"I toned a lot of things up," Jones said. "I'm not as tired. I'm moving a lot better, getting to the rim easier, so I'm feeling good. Not as sore."
Jones had a roller-coaster year last season. He injured his shoulder early on, and his jumpshot never returned to form. He scored 6.1 points per game, down from 8.5 two years ago, and shot just 28 percent from 3-point land.
As of Friday afternoon, Jones is officially competing for Pitt's starting wing job.
According to fellow senior Sheldon Jeter, Jones' workout regimen has paid off.
"In the summertime he made a really athletic play that I've never really seen him make," Jeter said.
But Stallings was right there to let Jones know there's still room for growth.
Jeter continued: "And Coach was just like "Oh, good job, Pillsbury."