Point guard DeVante’ Jones is having a great Summer so far.
Not only did the former Coastal Carolina point guard commit to the University of Michigan in May, but Jones recently earned an invite to the G League elite camp that will take place June 19-21 in Chicago.
Jones has been making a name for himself in the college basketball world with the Chanticleers over the last few seasons.
After racking up 19.3 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 86.2 percent on free throws, Jones was named the 2020-21 Sun Belt player of the year.
As my colleague Stephen Osentoski said in a video for us last month, Jones picked Michigan because he loved how he would fit in with the offensive scheme seamlessly. He also gelled with Juwan Howard while watching film, and got a few wise words from Mike Smith that may have sealed the deal on his commitment.
Much like Smith did this past season, Jones can step in seamlessly on offense while being a veteran leader, even though he should provide more defensive versatility than Smith did.
As a pro comparison, Jones reminds me of Bruce Brown back when he would run point for the Detroit Pistons. While Jones is much more talented offensively, they are both built like running backs who can keep defenses on their toes while making life hell for opposing.
He’s a traditional point guard with savvy moves around the rim, as he runs the break well, looks to pass when he touches the paint and absorbs contact at the rim.
Jones has great speed off the dribble to get to the rim, but even when he can’t get there, his Derrick Rose-esque floater can help him score from mid-range.
While Smith took a little bit of time to become a reliable defender in his season with Michigan, Jones should be able to fit into Michigan’s defensive scheme with ease.
He’s got some of the most active hands in all of college basketball, averaging nearly 3 takeaways a contest. His 2.8 steals per game ranked him third in all of DI college basketball last season.
Michigan didn’t have to press a lot last season, but if they wanted to switch things up this season and stress out defenders, Jones would a great player to have at the front of that design.
Watch in these clips how easily he gets steals without fouling. As soon as he gets the takeaway, he is instantly looking towards the paint to find an open teammate with the best shot, just as a traditional point guard should do.
If he can’t find a teammate, he uses his speed to burst to the rim and finishes with an old-school, underhanded scooping lay-up at the basket.
Looking at Michigan’s depth chart at the moment, Jones seems to be the likely candidate to grab the starting spot at the one, with sophomore Zeb Jackson and class of 2021 recruit Frankie Collins waiting in the wings.
Jones creates competition at the point guard position, which should only help Jackson and Collins in the long run.
Jones should mesh well with Eli Brooks in the back court. While Jones as not necessarily a bad three-point shooter (36.8 percent from deep last season), his release is a little slow and it’s never his first option to take a three, as he’s been more of a drive-and-kick guy.
Brooks is capable of creating his shot, but much like Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman a few seasons ago, he can excel as a catch-and-shoot guard who can expend more energy on the defensive side of the floor.
The pair of Jones and Brooks gives the Wolverines one of the best defensive back courts in the Big Ten, and Jones’ ability to get to the bucket with ease should mesh well with Brooks’ ability to finish from deep.
Both veteran guards should be able to make each other better on both ends of the floor. Having that experience at the 1 and 2 can help a young Michigan team stay the course and battle from behind in enemy territory.
Having those experienced guards who have been called upon in big games before will help Michigan immensely come Big Ten play and March Madness.