With Duke’s season officially in the books, the Blue Zone breaks down each player's season, including comparisons to their preseason projections. We previously looked at Jaylen Blakes. Next up is Bates Jones:
- Year: Graduate student
- Height: 6-foot-8
- Position: Forward
- This year’s stat line: 1.4 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 5.3 MPG
- The Blue Zone’s projected stat line: 0.8 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 3.0 MPG
Season breakdown: Bates Jones transferred to Duke after four years at Davidson to exercise his extra year of eligibility, and was tasked with providing depth at forward to give the primary rotation some rest as the team hunted for a championship. To sum up his season, he did just that. While Jones doesn’t bring anything particularly spectacular or unique, in 27 games played this season, the Charlotte native was able to bring energy and effort in his limited minutes while the starters caught their breaths.
There were certainly some moments this season in which Jones took the court and looked like he was barely keeping his head above water against a tough opponent. However, for the most part, Jones played his role serviceably, keeping the ball moving on offense and pressuring his man on defense, while occasionally tossing up an open three. He finished shooting 38.2% from the field and 31.0% from distance on 1.3 field goal attempts per game, but the biggest thing he contributed was a degree of consistency. When he was sent out for a minute or two here and there, you pretty much knew what you were getting.
Results relative to expectations: In a sense, Jones overperformed relative to expectations, given that not much was expected from him. While there is no future potential with the Blue Devils to really look for since this was his final year playing NCAA basketball, he displayed some reliability early with seven points in 15 minutes—both season highs—against South Carolina State and eventually played his way into a semi-regular rotation spot.
Most significantly, he found himself the third man off the bench by the end of the season, coming in after freshman guard Trevor Keels and graduate center Theo John, both of whom played more defined roles on the team, and surprisingly before senior forward and captain Joey Baker. He even saw action in Duke’s strenuous Sweet 16 defeat of defensive goliath Texas Tech. For a player whose addition to the team was mostly talked about in terms of his notable Blue Devil siblings, former quarterback Daniel and women’s soccer goalie Ruthie, Jones working his way up into a reliable bench role was an unexpected development for this year’s Blue Devils.
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Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.