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Purdue Basketball Off-Season Homework: Lance Jones

The former SIU Saluki will look to go out on top and bring an athletic boost to the young Purdue backcourt.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

In recent years, Matt Painter has had a tendency to fill a roster spot with a graduate transfer in hopes to have an older leader join the team and provide knowledge and experience to the younger guys. Guys like Spike Albrecht, Jahad Proctor, and David Jenkins Jr come to mind. Coach Painter has done it again as Lance Jones will join the Boilermakers as a graduate transfer from Southern Illinois (coincidentally Painter’s first head coaching job). Jones is a very athletic guard that is know as a versatile scorer as well as an elite defender. We’ll take a dive into Lance’s career at SIU and see how he’ll fit in at Purdue, but first, here’s a look at his athleticism:

Lance Jones was a 4 year starter at Southern Illinois, playing in 119 games while starting all but 6 (all occurring in his freshman season). His freshman season was modest, averaging 25.9 minutes, 9.3 points, 2.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 29.7% from beyond the arc and 44.9% overall.

Following his freshman year, Jones would become a consistent scorer over the next three seasons while being known for defense. In his sophomore year, Jones would average 13.4 points and 1.4 steals per game as his shooting from deep was great at 42.6 percent, especially considering that he was taking nearly 5 3’s per game. His scoring ability and defensive efficiency landed him as a 3rd team All-Missouri Valley Conference player.

Unfortunately, Jones’ scoring numbers would stay about the same for the next two years as his three point shooting dipped. Simply put, Jones was asked to be the guy and he needed to jack up some deep shots. This can be difficult and his 3-point percentage dropped to 33.9% and again to 28.0%. His senior season, Lance shot 12.5 shots per game and it was a grind. Where he never faltered, however, was his defense as Jones was a First Team All-MVC his junior and senior season while again being a 3rd Team All-MVC. All told, Lance Jones was 12th in program history in scoring, 3rd in 3 pointers made, and 5th in steals. Now, he gets to bring his talents to West Lafayette, Indiana and don the old gold and black.

Let’s state the obvious: Lance Jones is not the flashiest player Matt Painter could have got in the off-season. HOWEVER, Lance Jones is a great fit for this program and brings skills the Boilermakers are in need of. Jones can play 1, 2, or maybe a 3 in Purdue’s offense because he can provide great ball handling on offense while being able to shoot the rock from all 3 levels. That offensive skill set is really enticing and then there’s arguably his greatest skill: defense. Not only can Lance Jones provide versatility, but if he can teach his defensive skills to the likes of Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, and Myles Colvin, oh boy does that elevate this team. This season, I see Jones seeing good minutes either at the 3 with Smith and Loyer, or filling in for those two when they need a rest (mainly Smith). Obviously the level of competition is going to raise compared to the MVC, but I think Lance is up for it and there are a few things that make a difference anywhere you play: athleticism and defense.