It’s okay for college basketball freshmen to stay until their sophomore season. That’s one message that should come across every season. A player that should really consider staying in school happen to play for the Duke Blue Devils. Yes, Tre Jones had nice a season for the most part. However, he didn’t do anything to suggest he is ready for the NBA in 2019-20.
This is clearly for basketball purposes. Naturally, people will say that if you are projected to become a first round draft pick, you should head straight to the league. However, a player’s actual game should be the most important factor in deciding whether to forego numerous college seasons for an NBA contract.
When it comes to Jones, he may have more information than most. Jones is the younger brother of 4th-year NBA player, Tyus Jones. The elder brother averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds during his freshman season with the Blue Devils in 2015. He also won MOP of the 2015 Final Four and led the Blue Devils to the national title. He also shot 38 percent from 3-point range. Yet, Tyus has struggled to find his footing in the NBA. During four seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jones is averaging 4.9 points and 3.2 assists per game. He is producing a career high 6.4 points and 4.5 assists this season. This is not exactly the greatest start to an NBA career.
Tre averaged 9.3 points, 5.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game this year. Some of the numbers are similar to his brother, but one thing was apparent from the get-go. Tre had trouble shooting from the 3-point line. The struggles continued throughout much of the season. As a result, he finished at 26 percent from beyond the arc. This was with opponents giving Tre open shots. Interestingly enough, Tre connected on 5 of 7 3-point attempts during the win over Virginia Tech. He scored a career high 22 points. However, he only attempted one 3-pointer during Sunday’s loss. He only shot five times, overall.
Defensively, Jones seems to be ready for the NBA. He has some of the best ball pressure of all time. Between deflections, steals and just disrupting an opponent’s offense, Tre Jones is an elite prospect. He averaged 1.9 steals per game. Yet, that’s shouldn’t be enough to declare for the NBA draft.
Keep in mind, Jones had a to play a bit part on the offensive side of the ball. With Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett dominating on the offensive end, Jones had to take a backseat. However, he seems to be great with the midrange game. It appears that Jones can get into the lane with ease. He also has a pull up jumper that will rival Cassius Winston one day. This may be the very reason why Jones declares for the 2019 NBA draft. It’s also the reason why he should stay. Jones has all the tools to become a dynamic player. If he put it together next season, Jones would become a lottery pick. More importantly, he would be a better basketball player.
Moments after Sunday’s loss, Jones was inconsolable. Maybe it was his last game in a Duke uniform. Maybe the tears were for the freshman class no longer playing together. We won’t know anything official until Tre makes a decision. He will get the best advice from an older brother that just went through the same thing four years ago.