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Duke basketball 2013-14 player preview: Matt Jones

Leading up to Duke basketball’s first game of the season Nov. 8 against Davidson, The Blue Zone will preview all the expected contributors on this 2013-2014 squad, beginning with the freshmen Monday and ending with the seniors and grad students Friday.

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Matt Jones
  • Year: Freshman
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Position: Guard
  • Last year's key statistics: N/A
Game breakdown: Jones comes to Duke in the shadow of his fellow freshman Jabari Parker—a guy who was deemed one of the Blue Devil's go-to guys before playing a minute of collegiate basketball. The No. 36 recruit in the nation according to ESPN, Jones was billed as a 3-point specialist. With decent size and a knack for the catch-and-shoot, Jones has drawn comparisons to a young Ray Allen—the NBA's all-time leader in made 3-point shots.

Despite being billed as a one-trick pony, Jones has come to campus this season and impressed the coaching staff with the other aspects of his game. His skill that has generated the most buzz isn't his 3-point touch, but rather his defensive ability. Everyone from head coach Mike Krzyzewski to captain Tyler Thornton has lauded the freshman for his defense, which Jones attributes to his coach at DeSoto High School in Texas. The other skill Jones has that wasn't expected upon his arrival at Duke was his ball-handling. Tabbed as a true shooting guard in high school, with an improved dribble Jones may end up being more of a combo-guard for the Blue Devils.

Role on the team: Jones' role this season is very much in doubt. He's shown definitively through the offseason and the first exhibition game that he is ready to play today. The only issue is that Duke already has a very crowded backcourt with returners Thornton, Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Andre Dawkins deserving of minutes. Where Jones can help the Blue Devils right away is by providing the 3-point shooting of Dawkins without the defensive lapses Dawkins occasionally had over his first three seasons with Duke. With fouls expected to be a bigger part of the college basketball game thanks to the new hand check rules, Jones could soak up minutes at both guard spots should the veterans find themselves in foul trouble.

NBA comparison: Jones may well develop into a Ray Allen-esque 3-point shooter, but that's not who he'll be as a freshman. Instead, Jones may play a role more akin to that of Willie Green. For those of you wondering who Willie Green is, he's the glue-guy shooting guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. Green is an adept 3-point shooter—42.8 percent from beyond the arc last season—and provides above average defense. It's not a sexy comparison, but is is the type of player Duke may need this season.

Projected stat line: 4.5 PPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 RPG, 10.0 MPG

Check back tomorrow for previews of Semi Ojeleye and Rasheed Sulaimon.

Players we've already previewed: Jabari Parker


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