Baylor Bears' sophomore Perry Jones III started the season off in a roller coaster manner.
He learned late last season that he would be suspended the first five games of the 2011-2012 season, due to improper benefits he received before he began his time at Baylor.
Then he won the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year award, thrusting him further into the national spotlight and putting him higher on NBA draft boards than where he ended last season.
He burst back onto the scene after serving his suspension, but fell into a midseason slump a couple games after conference play began. He gained a reputation for being soft during that time, but has since turned his game around, and is continuing to show why he is one of the countries best players.
The following slides will break down Jones’ play and analyze the skill set of this sophomore.
Key Statistic: 1.2 assists per game
Analysis: The difference between Jones and other forwards at the college level is that he plays a good amount of his time outside, on the perimeter.
As such, one would expect him to connect with his teammates more often than the average post player. However, he has not been consistent this season when it comes to passing into the paint.
His length allows for him to see the entire court over defenders, so he should be more aware of the open man on the outside, while he is in the paint.
He seems to have gotten better as the season has progressed—at least recently—and has improved with five assists in his last two games.
Key Statistic: 7.8 rebounds per game
Analysis: The thing about Perry Jones is that he has an incredible build for the forward position. He stands at 6’11’’ and has a 7’2’’ wingspan. He has even packed on more muscle this season and continues to grow in his size.
As a result, one would expect to see a huge number of offensive and defensive rebounds each game. While a 7.8 average is not bad, it is not where Jones needs to be.
His problem is that he refuses to play aggressively for the better part of each game, especially if the rebound is contested. Also, he does not have the best hands in the game, causing him to lose his grip on the ball when there is pressure.
The sports world and Baylor fans alike began to notice this when he brought down only 16 rebounds in his first three games back, against much lesser teams.
Since the soft label appeared, Jones has stepped up his game mightily in this department, recording 31 rebounds in his last three games.
Key Statistic: 0.8 blocks per game
Analysis: For someone his size and length, he should be the defensive playmaker for the Bears, when it comes to stopping the opponent’s points in the paint.
The role of shot blocker, however, belongs to teammate Quincy Acy, who Baylor fans have grown accustomed to seeing him swat balls away from hopeful enemies.
Jones' lack of contesting shots probably derives from his lack of aggressiveness. He is not necessarily afraid to jump up with a man, but when he does, he seems to be a step or two behind in an apprehensive manner.
On the flip side, where Jones does excel on defense is by utilizing his speed. His vision coupled with his speed makes him a threat in long passing situations for teams. It is not uncommon to see him burst through a lane and grab the ball away from a player.
Key Statistic: 1.9 turnovers per game
Analysis: It was noted previously that Jones has a soft touch on the ball.
That being said, it doesn't hurt him when it comes to his ball handling and dribbling skills. Jones has a great sense of hand-eye coordination and even has complete control over the ball when he decides to throw some trick moves into the mix.
His control remains consistent through his drives into the lane to. When he decides to play strong in the paint, Jones pretty much guarantees himself a basket, without fear of losing the ball.
He also has impressive ball handling on the perimeter, at least for someone with his physical attributes.
As with most young players, he sometimes over dribbles and can create a turnover here or there.
Key Statistics: 14.7 points per game
55.3% field goal success
Analysis: Jones has remained fairly consistent with his shooting ability in his two years at Baylor.
He has the potential to be one of the most dangerous post players in the game, but falls back on jump shots to often. This is not necessarily a bad thing, when he is making over 55 percent of his field goal attempts. That statistic is actually good enough to place Jones as the second-most proficient field goal shooter in the Big 12.
On top of that, he has shot over 57 percent in five of his last seven games, three of those games he was above 60 percent.
To couple with that fact, Jones has certainly upped his offensive productivity when it comes to putting points on the board. He has scored in double digits in seven of his last nine games, putting up 20 plus three games ago.
Key Fact: He chose to stay with Baylor following his freshman season, even though multiple sources had him as a high NBA draft pick.
Analysis: There is no doubt that Jones is the face of this Baylor team.
He is a team player and it seems as though he would rather see his teammates succeed than himself. He has never been known for selfishness, but rather for his ability to lead no matter the group on the court.
His determination and work ethic cannot be put into question either. He knew that it was best for his game to stay in college, and has certainly shown improvement in his play this season.
He is not a player who gets down on himself, keeping a positive attitude and always working to improve on his skills.
In addition to his play on the court, he is certainly someone any coach would love to have off the court.