It’s an indication of the ever-evolving occasions in faculty basketball: gamers aren’t simply switching colleges on a yearly foundation, however they’re doing so inside the similar convention.
Final season, David Jones was a key participant for DePaul. Now, the high-scoring wing is a part of the enemy, filling a significant function for St. John’s.
“I used to be shocked. Clearly, he had an important season final 12 months,” DePaul senior heart Nick Ongenda mentioned on Large East media day Tuesday at Madison Sq. Backyard. “Simply seeing him go away, it was actually a shock to all of us.”
The Blue Demons’ loss is the Purple Storm’s achieve. Jones is a projected top-three participant for the Johnnies, being requested to at the very least partly fill the void left by two-time All-Large East first-team choice Julian Champagnie. By touchdown Jones, together with Illinois switch Andre Curbelo, St. John’s has the makings of an NCAA Match crew for the primary time since Mike Anderson’s arrival in 2019. The Large East coaches picked the Johnnies sixth out of 11 groups of their preseason ballot, a nod to the switch additions.
“He will be wonderful,” St. John’s heart Joel Soriano, Jones’ shut pal and a major a part of his resolution to return to Queens, mentioned. “He’s a giant key into what we need to do right here. His presence is unquestionably going to make a distinction.”
David Jones, a switch from DePaul, drives previous Rafael Pinzon throughout a St. John’s summer time observe. Corey Sipkin
Early on, the 6-foot-6 Jones has appeared comfortable in his new dwelling. He carried out effectively within the crew’s exhibition tour to the Dominican Republic in August, averaging 15.3 factors, 4.0 rebounds and three.6 assists. Anderson raved about his work ethic, the graceful southpaw often placing in three exercises per day, his dedication paying homage to Champagnie’s.
“He’s all the time within the gymnasium. He’s within the gymnasium earlier than observe, he’s within the gymnasium after observe. He shoots quite a bit,” Soriano mentioned. “Julian used to have a shirt, ‘Shoot till your arm falls off,’ and I really feel like he follows that mannequin.”
There’ll naturally be comparisons to Champagnie, since Jones might be enjoying the identical place and has the same talent set as a wing able to scoring inside and outside. However Anderson has made a degree of telling Jones they don’t want him to duplicate Champagnie’s 19.2 scoring common of final 12 months. He doesn’t need to be the man on offense for the Purple Storm.
“I simply need him to return in and be ‘Deivi,’ ” Anderson mentioned. “That’s essential. The strain’s not on him.”
With DePaul, picked to complete final by the Large East coaches, Jones clearly would have been probably the most proficient participant, after main scorer Javon Freeman-Liberty made the transfer to the skilled ranks. However Jones wasn’t all for staying in Chicago. He preferred the thought of enjoying in Anderson’s uptempo system with two pass-first level guards, Curbelo and Posh Alexander, and becoming a member of Soriano.
Ongenda and DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield have been diplomatic concerning Jones’ transfer, by far the Large East’s largest intra-conference switch because the league allowed such participant motion. Each mentioned they wished the very best for him. In a coincidental twist, the 2 groups will face each other when the league season kicks off, with DePaul visiting Queens on Dec. 7. Had Jones stayed put, each groups’ expectations can be totally different.
“Clearly, it’s a man we needed to put together for, and now we’re making ready him to go up in opposition to different opponents,” Anderson mentioned. “I’m glad he’s on our crew.”