Duke’s Future at Shooting Guard: Matt Jones
Matt Jones comes to Duke as the 36th ranked recruit overall by ESPN. While many recruits ranked that high would expect minutes their freshman year, Jones is not expected to see many minutes this season. Rasheed Sulaimon returns after his sensational freshman season and looks ready for a breakout season. Andre Dawkins will be playing his senior season likely in a sixth man role after redshirting last season. With these extremely talented players ahead of him, Matt Jones will likely be forced to the bench. Although his role may be small during his freshman year, Jones is a huge part of Duke’s future.
Matt Jones is an extremely talented shooter, which is very common for Duke at shooting guard. Jones will be able to improve his game over the course of this season, which will allow him to play a more complete game. He has continued to work on his ball handling throughout high school. He may not be able to attack the rim off the dribble but he will benefit from being able to hit jump shots off the dribble. He will earn his minutes off his shooting and continuing to improve his defense. With a year to learn defense under Coach K, he should be able to earn minutes by playing well on both sides of the ball.
In Jones second season, he should see an increased role. Depending on the recruitment of Tyus Jones and the NBA decision of Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones could even have a starting role. More likely, Matt Jones will be in a similar role as Andre Dawkins this season, large minute guard off the bench. His minutes are not guaranteed, because of a potential back court of Cook, Jones and Sulaimon, but he likely will. He will give Duke a great dynamic of great shooting that they will lose with Andre Dawkins graduating. He will not have a huge role his second year, but it will be a boost from his freshman year and will set him up well for the rest of his Duke career.
After a smaller role his first two years, I expect Matt Jones to be a starter in his third year. Quinn Cook will have graduated and Rasheed Sulaimon will likely be in the NBA, leaving the spot for Matt Jones. He will have earned this role after two years of preparation for the spot. He will be a solid starter for Duke, similar to Doron Lamb on the 2012 Kentucky National Championship team. He will be a steady player, but will need top team mates in order to win. Depending on if Jones redshirts his freshman year, he will have either two or three seasons in this role. He is a very talented player and has the potential to take this role later in his Duke career.
While Matt Jones is not a top NBA prospect, he could get an NBA role as a shooter and a floor spacer. I expect Matt Jones to have a great Duke career and be a part of many extremely talented Duke teams. He will never be a superstar, but will be a key piece for Duke into their future. I expect Matt Jones to be a Duke starter and key contributor during his time at Duke and make many Duke fans extremely proud to call him a Blue Devil.