Juwan Howard struck gold twice last season by bringing in transfers Mike Smith and Chaundee Brown. He is looking for just as much success this season with DeVante’ Jones coming in and likely taking over the starting point guard duties for the Michigan Wolverines. Let’s take a look at the tantalizing prospect that is Jones and what he brings to the team in 2021-22.
The story so far
Jones was heavily recruited in the transfer portal by the likes of Texas Tech, Memphis and Texas, but chose the Wolverines after deciding to leave Coastal Carolina.
He has 81 games under his belt with 77 starts in his career in the Sun Belt Conference. Jones garnered the attention of so many in the transfer portal after he won the Sun Belt Player of the Year in 2020-21. Averaging 19.3 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 2.9 assists per game, Jones was statically one of the most prolific players in the country. He did all that while shooting an efficient 36.8% from deep, 48.7 % from the field, and just over 86% from the free-throw line. Flat out, the dude can score the basketball.
With play like that, any player is going to not only draw the attention of other schools in the transfer portal but also from the professional level. He went through plenty of the NBA Draft process before withdrawing his name officially and heading to Ann Arbor. Jones has said several times he heard good things from the likes of the NBA, but the question remained if he could replicate that success at a higher level. He will get that opportunity in the 2021-22 season under the instruction of Howard, who may be the perfect man to get him prepped for the NBA.
Outlook for 2021-22
If Michigan can copy and paste what it did with Mike Smith with Davante Jones, they will be ecstatic. Smith had similar numbers coming out of Columbia: 19.3 points, 4.5 points, 4.1 assists. The difference is Jones is bigger and a slightly more efficient shot creator and shooter.
Smith became a facilitator at Michigan last season. We saw the inner struggle from Smith at times last season, reverting back to his Columbia days and trying to do everything himself. But for the majority of the season, he realized he was playing with great talent around him. And the point guard really commanded the offense and was an instrumental part of the Elite Eight run a season ago.
Jones comes to Michigan with the same on-court mindset. He has been the guy at Coastal Carolina over the past two seasons. Now he will have a roster full of teammates at his same level: Hunter Dickinson, Caleb Houstan, Brandon Johns Jr. and Eli Brooks to name a handful. Playing second or third fiddle to these guys on a game-in, game-out basis may take some time to get used to, but there is a chance he could have a similar impact that Smith had last season. This coaching staff, I’m sure, is hopeful it will be beyond that.
The transfer point guard will have a chip on his shoulder from the get-go. He has a lot to prove to the NBA and skeptics coming from the Sun Belt and Coastal Carolina. But if he can bring a similar level of success to the Big Ten, he won’t be playing for Michigan for very long.