Purdue added an interesting piece to the 2023/24 roster this afternoon with the addition of S.I.U. senior guard Lance Jones.
Let’s get it… #Committed pic.twitter.com/1MKkRTE3O6— Lance Jones (@LanceBuckets) April 8, 2023
Jones, a 6’1”, 200 pound shooting guard, will be a 5th year senior with one year (his “Covid” year) of eligibility for the Boilermakers. Last season at Southern Illinois he started 33 games, averaged 14 points, was 3rd team All-MVC, and was named to the MVC All-Defense squad.
Jones is an athletic, experienced guard. Purdue needs at least 1 of those (and probably two) for next season. He’s a 4 year starter for the Salukies and eats up minutes, averaging 30+ a game over the last 3 seasons. As a sophomore he shot 43% from 3, and as a junior drained 34% of his deep attempts.
More than anything, he’s a stand out on defense. According to KenPom, his steal percentage of 3.4 was 108th in the nation last season. He’s a 2 time member (‘21-22, ‘22-23) of the MVC All-Defensive team and excels at harassing point guards. He’ll bring an edge that the Boilermakers lacked last season.
Can he shoot?...sometimes
Jones is the definition of a streaky shooter. As a freshman he averaged 2.3 3 point attempts per game, hitting 30%. As a sophomore he took off, upping his attempts to 4.9 per game and his make percentage to a robust 43%. His shooting dropped off substantially as a junior, attempting 6.2 3’s a game, but only hitting 34%. Last season the bottomed dropped out, he was chucking away from deep, attempting a career high 7.6 attempts per game, but only hitting 28%.
His free throw shooting is also a roller coaster. He hit 63% as a freshman, 71% as a sophomore, 27% as a junior, and 77% as a senior.
Is he strong with the ball?...sometimes
This is tough, because he had the ball in his hands a ton at SIU, but his 2.3 turnovers a game (down from 2.8 as a junior and 3.2 as a sophomore) would be the worst of any Boilermaker guard last season and tied with Zach Edey for most on the team.
On the Bright Side
He’s going from a guy that needed to score for SIU to win, to more of a “defensive stopper” role at Purdue (I assume). I get the feeling from watching his film that he was trying to do too much last season on offense and forced things because someone needed to score. That won’t be an issue at Purdue. Taking a smaller role on offense should make him more efficient.
Hard to say. Coach Painter said Purdue needed to get more athletic, and Jones fits the bill. At the same time, he’s an erratic shooter prone to turnovers. His best attribute as a player is creating steals, but Coach Painter has put a moratorium on pressure defense. Purdue was almost dead last in steal percentage last season, and that was by design. It will be interesting to see if this signals a shift in Painter’s “don’t pressure, don’t foul” defensive philosophy, or if this is a round peg / square hole situation.
Jones wants to be a Boilermaker and Coach Painter wants him to be a Boilermaker. That’s good enough for me. I’m not seeing this is a great stylistic fit, but I’m also a blogger, not one of the best college basketball coaches in the nation. I don’t have to see the fit, as long Coach Painter does.
If nothing else, he can give Purdue energy off the bench. Purdue still has one scholarship to fill. I anticipate it going to a taller wing, but who knows, with Edey in limbo it’s hard to say what this team needs (or doesn’t need) until the corner stone of the roster makes his NBA decision.