For those who might be new to my Duquesne writing, following every season, I do a player by player run down for all of the returning players. For those who are familiar with my Duquesne writing, I plan to do it a little differently this year in that I will create one post per position group as opposed to one per player. Yesterday, I looked at the post players. Today, I’ll look at the wings and tomorrow I’ll break down the guards.
Jeremiah Jones (Junior)
Jones draws a great deal of criticism from the Duquesne fans. Some of it has got merit. Some really seems to overlook his development this season. Jones has his flaws, but has been playing like a senior and will be a big part of next year’s team.
What He Does Well
Jones is an aggressive rebounder and a strong competitor. He’s also growing into his role as a vocal team leader and the definition of unselfish play. Unlike the popular school of thought, Jones generally makes solid decisions on offense and provides a strong third ball handler. He has recognized that there are better shooters on the team and he has passed on open shots to find his teammate. He gets inside well and finds teammates on the drive and kick and he’s particularly good at finding Micah Mason. Of Mason’s eighty-eight three pointers, Jones assisted on twenty-five, more than any other Duke. Each year at Duquesne, he’s doubled his assist total every year finishing with the ninth highest assists per game in the Atlantic 10 this season.
Areas to Improve
With increased volume, Jones has seen his turnovers spike along with his assists. Regarded as an above average defender in man to man defense, he struggled with the rotations in the 2-3 zone. As Dominique McKoy and L.G. Gill improved their perimeter defense from the four, opposing coaches began exploiting Jones. Jones also had difficulty reading and working through post screens. Jones does a nice job creating for other and he needs to get better finishing the chances he creates for himself.
Jones had something of a quiet breakout this season. It could get loud next year if he can finish better around the hoop, decrease the turnovers, and top the 31.5% he shot as a freshman from 3-point range. He would become very difficult to guard 18 feet from the hoop with an improved jumper in his back pocket.
Eric James (Freshman)
As it often does with freshmen, James’s role with the team tapered off as the season progressed. He showed flashes and was among the team’s leading scorers early on. However, he was a little quick to shoot rather than depend on teammates or make the extra pass. Even as the minutes dwindled, the decision making noticeably changed as he began to look more like a sophomore in late season glimpses.
What He Does Well
James has shown a great nose for rebounds at both ends of the court. He is often in a strong position and shows excellent timing on his leap getting putbacks. James has good body control and he finishes well around the basket. He has enough ball handling to get to the hoop and he passed on shots to make the pass late in the season. His vision seems to be developing.
Areas to Improve
James’s jumper is somewhat inconsistent and he appears to be something of a streaky shooter right now. He gets to the line often enough, but he needs to make a higher percentage of shots. His defense has improved, but as a wing he’ll need to get better at reading when to help and when to remain on the perimeter in the man or the zone.
James has a ton of upside and has the potential to be a real weapon on offense. He also has the size and the rebounding prowess to become part of the solution to the team’s defensive woes. I suspect his role will still be limited as a sophomore, but I would expect him to be very important to the program as a junior and senior.
Mar’Qywell Jackson (Redshirt Freshman)
We don’t know much about Jackson, but we know he was highly regarded when he committed to UTEP, receiving a four star designation at one point in his recruitment. What we do know is that he’s a freshman even if he is a redshirt freshman. He hasn’t played a single college game and he might need a little time to adjust.
Jones likely with have most of the minutes locked down at the three, but James and Jackson could give the Dukes a different feel at the position moving forward. It’s also possible that L.G. Gill will work his way into this group at some point during the season especially if Ty’Sean Powell adapts to the four. It’s also possible that James and Jackson develop into twos. At LIU, Jim Ferry played with two wings operating interchangeably. It’s possible we can see something more like it with the two wings waiting in the wings.