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 #14 ShawnDre’ Jones of Richmond.
What He’s Done
After logging some huge scoring performances for the Spiders last season, ShawnDre’ Jones is back and ready to take his game to the next level. The junior guard averaged 14.7 points per game on 43.3% shooting from the field and 39.2% shooting from long range. He was one of the Spiders’ most underrated players, and he could go for 25+ points on any given night. Jones dropped a career-high 35 points against Fordham at the beginning of last season’s conference play. This performance came right after a game against Rhode Island where he went 0-4 from the field and failed to score any points.
Jones isn’t the most consistent scorer, but his highs are certainly very high. He had 7 games last season where he scored at least 20 points, and he had 3 performances where he went for more than 25 points. ShawnDre’ boasted a solid 3.6 assists per game last season and even managed to pull down 2.3 boards per contest, which certainly isn’t bad for a 5-11 guard. He also led the team in free throw shooting percentage at 82.6%. All around, Jones was a dangerous asset for this Richmond team, and he and T.J. Cline could take the Spiders to new heights this season.
What He’ll Do
ShawnDre’ Jones really has the chance to emerge as one of the best guards in the Atlantic 10 this season. The spotlight will be on the backcourt in the A-10 this season; Jack Gibbs, E.C. Matthews, Jaylen Adams, and JeQuan Lewis will all be the primary focus, but Jones may just have something to say about that. Statistically speaking, he isn’t too far off the leaders of the pack, and when you look at the way Richmond’s rising senior plays basketball, you can really see potential in him having a breakout year.
Jones plays with quickness and affects all areas of the game. He’s one of the toughest guards to defend on the perimeter, and when he gets hot, he’s almost impossible to stop. Though he’s only 5-11, he has no problem getting into the lane and finishing over taller defenders. With a solid array of scoring options, he’ll also be called upon to emerge as an even better distributor this season. As we saw last season, Jones can be a dangerous player once he gets going. No one drops 35 points on accident. There will be plenty of opportunities for ShawnDre’ to take the helm of this team and deliver in the clutch, and given the way his career at Richmond is going so far, expect him to do just that and more in 2016-17.
Previously: #15 Kendall Pollard