Ahead of Coach K’s final season, Duke men’s basketball is bringing in several new players to Durham. In this series, we analyze film on each of the Blue Devils’ new signees and transfers for the 2021-22 season.
He may not be the most notable member of his family in Duke athletics history, but Bates Jones will still have a role for Blue Devil men’s basketball—albeit a fairly small one.
The younger brother of former Duke quarterback Daniel and the older brother of women’s soccer goalie Ruthie, Jones enters the fray after a four-year career at Davidson. The 6-foot-8 forward started five of his 96 career games during his time as a Wildcat, averaging 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per contest. With potential breakout returnee Mark Williams and blue-chip freshman Paolo Banchero commanding much of the attention—and playing time—in the frontcourt, Jones is unlikely to see the court for extended periods of time with the exception of mop up duty.
Despite his anticipated lack of opportunities, the Charlotte native still has a few skills worthy of mention. Based on his high school tape, Jones is capable of running the floor, often serving as a spot up shooter in transition.
This propensity to pull up from the perimeter applies to half court milieus as well, with Jones displaying a specific knack for corner jumpers. For a Blue Devil squad that has no shortage of high-usage players, having a guy who can space the floor certainly helps.
Jones is not just a one-trick pony, though, as the Charlotte Latin alum can attack the rim and finish through contact.
One final thing to take note of is his unselfishness, particularly when operating out of the high post. Jones has solid court vision, and can find the open man with a skip pass to force the defense to scramble.
All in all, don’t expect Jones to be a major facet of Duke’s rotation—the Blue Devils will likely go nine-deep with Theo John, Joey Baker, Jaylen Blakes and either Wendell Moore Jr. or Trevor Keels commanding nearly all of the bench minutes. But similarly to recent transfer departee Patrick Tapé, Jones will add experience and leadership to a roster that will be partially defined by an influx of young talent. He could even serve as a mentor to Williams and Banchero, who are still developing their bodies and skillsets.
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