Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top Pre-Season Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2016-17 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article counting down our best 25 players for the coming season. Today, we feature #25 DeJon Jarreau of Massachusetts.
What He’s Done
Without having done anything on the collegiate level, Massachusetts’ incoming freshman DeJon Jarreau already finds himself in the Top 25 for the 2016-17 season. The pre-season praise for DeJon Jarreau has been warranted, and everyone in the A-10 is expecting a big season from the Louisiana native. He’ll join Donte Clark to form a lethal backcourt, possibly one of the best in the conference this year. The Minutemen boast a very strong 2016 recruiting class, and Jarreau is the headliner who should play serious minutes his freshman season.
Jarreau had a plethora of offers from schools across the nation. He chose the Minutemen over some strong Power 5 schools, including Florida, Miami (FL), Oklahoma, and Purdue. He played ball at McDonogh 35 High School and is a consensus 4 star recruit. DeJon Jarreau ranks 61st overall in his class and 2nd in the state of Louisiana. Expect him to be an immediate starter for this young Massachusetts team and a strong candidate for A-10 rookie of the year.
What He’ll Do
As a dominant scorer in high school, Jarreau should provide the Minutemen with a go-to scoring option in the backcourt. Massachusetts loses 2 of its top 3 leading scorers in Trey Davis (18.7 PPG) and Jabarie Hinds (14.5 PPG), so it will need to find effective offensive replacements. Donte Clark averaged 16.1 points per contest last season, but Massachusetts’ next best returning scorer is Seth Berger who averaged 5.2 points per game last year. UMass was a middle-of-the-pack team last season in terms of points per game. As a team, the Minutemen averaged 73.5 which was good enough for 168th in the nation. Without Trey Davis lighting it up from all over the floor though, it’s going to be tough for UMass to improve or maintain last season’s mark.
Though some have criticized his lack of strength as a problem area, Jarreau still possesses the capability to get in the lane where he can maneuver his way to the hoop. He’s not an amazing facilitator, but the incoming freshman certainly has the ability to find his teammates on the wing. He’s great at getting transition buckets, and his three-point shot is fairly solid. The Minutemen were 249th in the nation last season in long range field goal percentage at 33.0%. They’re going to have to improve from distance in order to have a fighting chance in the league, and Jarreau is likely going to have to improve his jumpshot in order to become a more dynamic scorer.
Massachusetts really needs Jarreau to come in and put up solid scoring numbers early and often. This team has a very reliable player in Donte Clark, but after that, there are a lot of question marks as to who is going to lead this offense. There is a lot of young talent on this roster, but it’s difficult to say just who will be the player to make a splash and average double digits in scoring. Jarreau definitely has the game to compete with just about any other guard in the conference, so there’s a very good chance we see him excel in his first season.