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Duke men's basketball 2019-20 player review: Tre Jones

<p>Tre Jones spent his final year at Duke commanding the floor and acting as the team's primary ball handler.</p>

Tre Jones spent his final year at Duke commanding the floor and acting as the team's primary ball handler.

Tre Jones

Season breakdown: With the departures of freshman phenoms Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish last spring, the 2019-20 Blue Devils became Tre Jones’ team. Jones rarely left the floor this season, averaging a team-high 35.4 minutes per game, while also leading in numerous other categories, such as steals and assists.

Following the legendary win against the rival Tar Heels, Tre attributed his mentality in the clutch to his older brother Tyus “Stones”,  a former point guard and national champion at Duke in 2015. This confidence manifested itself in the leadership and play style of Jones throughout the season, a major development in his game from last season.

Jones seemed to consistently play great when it mattered most. After last year’s heartbreaking loss to Michigan State in the Elite Eight, the sophomore made sure to come back with a vengeance. Against the Spartans this season, he notched 20 points, 12 assists and three steals, clearly out-dueling opposing guard Cassius Winston in a win for the Blue Devils. Duke fans will also never forget Jones throwing the ball at the rim at the end of regulation, catching his own rebound and making a contested midrange jumper to send the game to overtime against North Carolina.

Results relative to expectations: Though he did begin the season as a team captain and the Blue Devils' best returning player, Jones’ emergence as the bona fide veteran leader of his squad wasn’t guaranteed. Before the season, most expected the Apple Valley, Minn., native to start at point guard and facilitate Duke’s offense, but pundits doubted his ability to act as a primary scoring option for head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Jones managed to exceed those expectations, scoring the second-most points per game on the team en route to winning both ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year Honors.

After Jones declared for the draft, Krzyzewski will most likely rely upon five-star recruit Jeremy Roach to shoulder the point guard responsibilities in 2020-21. Duke has another top-flight recruiting class, but it’s clear that the team’s new primary ball handler will have huge shoes to fill next season.

Previous players previewed include Alex O’Connell, Joey Baker, Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire, Justin Robinson, Wendell Moore Jr., Matthew Hurt, Cassius Stanley and Vernon Carey Jr.

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