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Northwestern men’s basketball player previews: C Jared Jones

Fun fact: the promising big man is a distant cousin of Boo Buie!

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Who he is:

First year; center; 6-foot-10; 240 pounds; Hiram, Ga.; three-star prospect

Career Stats:

11 points, 1 rebound against Quincy in the exhibition.

Strengths:

Jones is an dynamic center who is a presence under the basket, but whose athleticism allows him to also move quickly and cut inside to get open. His ability to use his body and finish shots inside the paint will be an asset for the Wildcats. He also has shown flashes of an ability to step back and hit both midrange jump shots and three-pointers, proving that he can be a versatile shooter.

As a defender, he is a solid rim protector and has the size to block shots, especially when up against smaller players. He also has the quickness to snag rebounds. Playing on a very high-level team in high school allowed him to get some experience against stronger competition, potentially easing the transition to Division 1 college hoops.

Weaknesses:

It is hard to truly talk about weaknesses, considering Jones has only been seen in one (exhibition) game at the college level, but his lack of experience is definitely something to consider. Going up against a lot of centers in the Big Ten as a true freshman is not an easy feat for anyone, regardless of who they played coming up, and he will need to get accustomed to the faster and more physical play to reach his full potential.

For a center, Jones’ size is not anything special, but he already appears to have grown a little since his commitment was announced, and with four years ahead of him, there is no doubt that he will continue to develop. Certainly, there is also room to improve when it comes to pure rebounding ability and post defense, though again, those are problems for most developing bigs.

Expectations:

Following the departures of Dererk Pardon and Barret Benson, Jones has a large role to step into this season as one of the only centers listed on the roster (the other is redshirt freshman Ryan Young). With his ability to score and the quickness he brings from inside the paint, the Georgia native is bound to be a key part of Northwestern’s frontcourt this season and will likely see a lot of playing time.

Though he will have to develop over the course of the season, if his outing against Quincy is any indication, Jones can make plays offensively and around the rim when he is on schedule. Expecting consistent production would be a bit of a fool’s errand, but the center can and almost definitely will make an impact early and often.