Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, we continue our countdown with #13 ShawnDre’ Jones
Though his play may have been shadowed by A-10 POY T.J. Cline, ShawnDre’ Jones had a really impressive senior season with the Spiders. Scoring at a high level and earning All-Conference Third Team Honors, ShawnDre’ Jones was a big reason why Richmond finished 3rd in the Atlantic 10 this season. Jones has been an integral piece to this Richmond team throughout his career. Having played 90.3% of available minutes, the 22nd most in the nation, it’s easy to see how important he was to this team. He’s going to be a difficult player to replace as his intangible effort on both ends of the floor propelled the Spiders along through some tough games.
It’s difficult to pick from the bunch. ShawnDre’ Jones only scored in single digits three times this season. He could always be relied upon for consistent scoring, and occasionally, he’d break out and have a big game. Jones’ season-high 31 points came in Richmond’s season-opener against VMI; ShawnDre’ helped the Spiders avoid catastrophe in a 72-69 win. Jones had back-to-back 30 point performances against Duquesne and VCU, and even though Richmond fell short to the Rams, Jones didn’t fail to put on a show at the Siegel Center.
ShawnDre’ Jones went 6-9 from deep and scored 26 points on the road against Massachusetts this season. He also had 14 points, 8 assists, and 3 steals against Fordham earlier in the year. ShawnDre’ Jones played like a true Spider this past season; he was all over the floor, displaying his quickness, hitting shots, and making winning plays on offense and defense. ShawnDre’ Jones seldom failed to have an impressive game.
Jones had the 7th best effective field goal percentage in the Atlantic 10 this year (56.4%) which is incredible for a guard. His 3 point shooting percentage was once again impressive, as he knocked down 39.2% of his attempts this season. Jones was also Top 20 in the league in both turnover rate and assist rate, as he displayed his ability to protect the ball and distribute it efficiently. Finally, Jones was absolute money from the free throw line where he knocked down more than 86% of his attempts in conference play. He did all the fundamentals for the Spiders.
ShawnDre’ Jones is the definition of a team player, and his departure is really going to hurt this Spiders team. As impressive as T.J. Cline was this past season, I don’t think Richmond finishes above 6th in conference play if it doesn’t have ShawnDre’ Jones. The senior packed a punch, was a high-energy player with an impressive motor, and never shied away from the big moments. Jones never failed to do all the little things right, and outside of just scoring, he meant so much to this program. ShawnDre’ Jones will be very difficult to replace. He probably didn’t receive enough credit for what he did this past season, because he was an enormous piece to the puzzle.
Previously: #14 Justin Tillman