Friday afternoon marked a likely first for Tre Jones, myself and many others: a press conference over Zoom.
The 2019-20 ACC Player of the Year and soon-to-be NBA Draft selection chatted with members of the media over the video conferencing platform, touching on topics ranging from what he’ll miss most about Duke to how he’s passing the extra time at home. Here are some highlights from the conversation:
On how he improved his game in his sophomore season:
“All the coaches helped me with my leadership this year. I feel like through adversity and the ups and downs, they were always trying to bring the most out of me as far as leadership goes. I feel like being a vocal leader is something that I grew a lot in this year. Just trying to talk more, whether it's in the locker room, on the court, practice, games, whatever it was, just trying to talk more and be more of a vocal leader, rather than just letting my actions do the leadership. But I feel like a lot of different aspects in my game grew this year. I was able to show that I can shoot the ball much better than I did last year. I think that was one of the biggest things that I improved on this year.”
On what he’ll miss the most about Duke aside from basketball:
“Ever since I stepped on the campus, it felt like home to me. [People around campus] embrace everyone that comes there and everyone just wants the best for you. Not only from the coaches and the staff that's all around the team, [it's] the professors, the people around campus, it's everyone. Everyone just wants the best for you and they make it feel a lot like home.”
On preparing for the draft amid the coronavirus pandemic:
“I think it's definitely different, something that no one's ever dealt with. So it's kind of weird right now, but I think just try to stay in shape, continue to do things from home that I can do. I'm staying with [Jones’ older brother and NBA guard Tyus Jones] right now. So I get to work out with him as much as I can and do as much from home that I can. But I'm just trying to just stay ready whenever the moment comes. Whether we do get to work out for teams or whatever it is. No one really knows yet, but just trying to stay ready.”
On how he’s passing the additional free time:
“Classes just resumed online. So I'm doing classes again, after the [extended spring break]. So I'm back to doing classes, but then just trying to work out with my brother here in his home. I'm trying to stay in shape and ready to go and then after that, just hanging out, playing video games, doing normal things like that.”
On how coronavirus impacted his and other players’ decision to return to school or go pro:
“It's tough. I know for myself, coming back to win a national championship was the first thing on my mind. So once that got taken away it was tough for a decision, but I think it's just weird. It's new for everybody. No one really knows what to do and how to think of it because it's something that you'd never think would happen in a lifetime.”
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On how the Blue Devil team reacted to the sudden end of the season:
“The team has still been talking. The group chat still is alive, we are all talking. It's weird how quick it ended and how abrupt it was. So I think it is something that is hard on us to process and deal with, just with how quick it ended.... It was just quick goodbyes and everything. So it still doesn't seem real because life isn't really going on at this point.”