With all of the talk of Indiana's early-season fortune going to the team’s head, maybe it’s the Hoosiers' fans that can’t deal with the success. Last night, in their worst performance of the season, the Indiana Hoosiers (15-2, 3-2 Big Ten) were handed their first home loss by the struggling Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-5, 1-4 Big Ten).
It was an overall poor team performance that led to the loss, but it was Verdell Jones III that took the brunt of the anger from the Indiana fan base.
If you are one of the logical, level-headed fans who realize that basketball players have bad games, please disregard.
This is only meant for the brain-dead, spineless group of bandwagon jumpers whose basketball knowledge doesn’t surpass that of the fold-out chair they are yelling from.
Jones III had his worst game in an Indiana uniform last night, scoring zero points on 0-6 shooting to go along with three turnovers, and the fans didn’t let him forget it.
Not only was Verdell greeted with a chorus of repeated boos when he checked into the game in the second half, but he also fell victim to the new-age form of faceless, passive-aggressive vitriol via social media.
Here are a few excerpts:
“Only good thing about tonight is knowing that Verdell Jones wont be on the team next year.
“Verdell jones is the definition of terrible ..he's trash”
“I'd love to see Miles Brand return from the grave and toss Verdell Jones III out of Btown iunation IbU7”
I’m going to venture a guess and say that these people weren’t around when Verdell was busting his ass for a 6-25 team his freshman year. It’s also safe to assume that they weren’t there to watch everyone else transfer off that team, while Jones, along with Tom Prtichard and Matt Roth, stuck around and dedicated themselves to digging this program out of the wreck from which it began.
The people spitting hate at Jones last night were probably the same ones cheering for both of his game winning assists against Kentucky and Ohio State or his clutch pull-up jumper in the last minute of the Michigan game.
You don’t think Verdell knows how awful he played last night?
Maybe that’s because while you went out drinking or sat at home preparing your TPS reports, Jones was alone in Assembly Hall until 12:30 AM putting himself through a full individual practice. As reported by Jeff Rabjohns, writer for peegs.com:
“IU's Verdell Jones III is the only player on Assembly Hall floor right now and he's shooting with a team manager. He has headphones on. AH is silent other than the catch, bounce, shot of Jones shooting. He's working, not playing. It's Midnight, and Jones is still going through drills. He's now doing ball-handling drills in an otherwise empty Assembly Hall.”
“Verdell Jones made a final shot, then left Assembly Hall at 12:24 a.m., after an hour+ of postgame practice.”
This is the player that you choose to take your anger out on?
Jones has had to evolve throughout his four years more than any other player on Indiana’s roster. His role went from the go-to scorer in his first two years to becoming a less-selfish facilitator as Tom Crean continued to bring in more talent. And not once has he given less than maximum effort to accomplish his only goal: winning.
Verdell is never going to be mistaken for an All-American or an NBA lottery pick, but that doesn’t change how important he has been to the revitalization of Indiana basketball. Jones has represented Indiana University with nothing but class for the last four years, on and off the court.
It’s time for Hoosier fans to return the favor.
This article originally appeared on Hoosier Cafe