A very highly touted member of the 2008 high school class (ranked #22 by Scout, #23 by Rivals and #28 by ESPN), DeQuan Jones only managed to garner just 2.7 points in 11 minutes per game on 34% shooting on a non-NCAA tournament bound Miami team, leaving some Hurricane fans a bit disappointed in their supposed stud recruit.
Jones production as a freshman is barely worth mentioning, as there are almost no bright spots to be found anywhere in his stat-line. He struggled horribly to put the ball in the basketscoring a paltry 9.6 points per-40 minutes pace adjusted--and even when he did, was only able to do so on awful percentages, 38% from 2-point range and 1/15 total from beyond the arc on the season. He turned the ball over twice as often as he garnered an assist, coughing the ball up on 25% of his used possessions. Needless to say, Jones did not do much to show that he deserved more playing time than Frank Haith was willing to give him throughout the season.
From a physical standpoint, its not hard to see what got the recruiting analysts excited about Jones potential, as he has good size for the wing position at around 6-5, to go along with a chiseled frame, long arms and outstanding athletic ability. Jones has a terrific first step, is incredibly quick off the floor, and is capable of throwing some highlight reel caliber dunks thanks to his fantastic leaping ability, particularly in transition.
The problem is that Jones has no idea how to utilize his athletic gifts at this point, as hes an incredibly limited ball-handler and has almost no range to speak of on his very streaky jump-shot. Jones struggles badly trying to create his own shot, often looking completely out of control with his head down on his way to the rim, being incapable of changing directions with the ball. To compound this problem, his decision making can be exceptionally poor at times, particularly in terms of his shot-selection. He tends to break off from the offense and pull-up off the dribble wildly for no particular reason, resulting in some very bad misses. Needless to say, Jones basketball IQ has a long ways to go from what he showed as a freshman.
Defensively is where Jones is more than capable of compensating for his shortcomings on the offensive end, as he has all the tools to be a lockdown defender, and then some, even at the NBA level. His size, length, frame and terrific athleticism should allow him to guard multiple positions down the road, and you already saw flashes of that this past season where Frank Haith would ask him to defend the opposing teams best perimeter scorer. Unfortunately Jones isnt there quite yet on this end of the floor either, as both his fundamentals and awareness are fairly poor, and he tends to lose his focus easily and get out of his defensive stance, letting mediocre college guards blow right past him as if he wasnt even there. Hes capable of making some big plays from time to time, mostly in the form of steals and blocks, but has a long ways to go before he reaches his full potential here.
In terms of productivity or actual skill-level, Jones has no business being named amongst the top players in pretty much any conference, let alone the ACC. Looking at his physical attributes and long-term upside, though, there is a lot to like here from an NBA perspective. Jones should be able to at the very least develop into a Dahntay Jones-type defensive stopper if he continues to put the work in, and considering that hes only 19 years-old right now, could still develop considerably at the college level over the next few years.