Big 12 Tournament 2012: Baylor Star Perry Jones Raising His Game at Perfect Time

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08:  Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears drives the lane during a game against the Kansas State Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament March 8, 2012 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Baylor star forward Perry Jones III is raising his game at the perfect time for a Bears team talented enough to make a deep NCAA tournament run.

With the opportunity to impress scouts ahead of the NBA draft and lead his team to a possible national title in the next few weeks, March Madness will be a very important time for Jones.

Against Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament on Thursday afternoon, Jones scored a career-high 31 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds in a huge eight-point win for Baylor.

Jones said, via ESPN:

"It's pleasing because I got my teammates to give me the ball in the right position, my teammates encouraging me to shoot shots I don't normally take," he said. "And they told me to do it like I did it in practice."

Jones should keep shooting because he's Baylor's best offensive weapon and he needs to shine for the remainder of the conference tournament and the entire NCAA tournament.

The sophomore forward has double-doubles in three consecutive games and is using his athleticism and basketball intelligence to his advantage.

After wisely deciding against entering the NBA draft after last season, Jones has done well to develop his raw talent into a more polished offensive game. Jones has also shot 62 percent from the field over the last three games, which is well above his season average of 49 percent.

With Jones playing well at the right time, Baylor has a great chance for a deep tournament run. The Bears' seed in the NCAA tournament will be determined by how well they do against teams such as Missouri and Kansas in this week's Big 12 tournament. 

The Bears are 0-4 this season against the Tigers and Jayhawks, but with Jones playing well at both ends of the floor, Baylor is more dangerous now than they have been at any point this season.

Jones knows this is the time of year he needs to dominate in order to achieve the team's goals and his own, and thus far, he seems capable of stepping into the spotlight and performing well under pressure.