Finally, a Dukie. Due to the revolving door philosophy within this storied program, the Blue Devils rarely boast high level returnees. However, this season they return one of the best point guards in the entire country to potentially lead a group of pups to the promised land. At #3 on our countdown, Duke’s Tre’ Jones.
Jones is a bit of a legacy in Durham. His brother, Tyus, is one of the most universally loved players to roll through the program in the last 15 years. If there was any pressure on the former five star recruit, he certainly didn’t show it. The 6’2 guard averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 36 games for the Blue Devils. Those numbers were stunningly similar to his brother’s lone season at Duke. Tre’s 68 steals were good for third in the league, while his 192 assists ranked second.
The 2018-19 season was almost a disaster for Jones, as he collided with Syracuse’s Frank Howard in a January contest and suffered a shoulder injury. Initially, the injury was feared to be potentially season ending. However, Jones only missed a couple of games and gutted out the rest of the season, helping to lead Duke to an ACC Tournament championship and an Elite Eight appearance in the big dance.
The way that Tre’ fit on that Duke team last season was incredible. He was the perfect compliment to RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson with his ability to create fast break opportunities and high flying, momentum shifting plays. The effort that he puts forth on the floor, and the way he seemingly feeds off of the Cameron Crazies is contagious and brings the whole team up.
Those leadership qualities will be put to the test his season as an all new group of highly decorated, highly skilled young men arrive on campus. The quartet of five star freshman, while very talented, are not as explosive, or as physically gifted as last seasons transcendent college players. They will need guidance and leadership on the court to continue the success of “The Brotherhood.” (Yes, eyeroll, big time.) With Tre’ Jones providing that leadership, they will be fine. I am not as high on them as others, but a Sweet 16 or Elite Eight appearance is easily imagined.