A grand jury declined to indict former Louisville guard Chris Jones and his two co-defendants on rape and sodomy charges stemming from an incident in February that got Jones dismissed from the Cardinal basketball team.
In a separate story, the Courier-Journal reported that Jones and his co-defendants said that the former player had consensual sex with two women that night.
The issues that got Jones booted from the basketball team began a week before the alleged assault occurred. Jones, who had already spent time in head coach Rick Pitino’s dog house for his attitude in practice and his penchant for jacking up jump shots, was suspended for a game as a result of a threatening message that he sent a girlfriend. After returning to the team, he was then booted for what Louisville initially said was the result of a curfew violation. Later in the week, news broke that Jones was being accused of a crime.
Police: Dismissed Louisville guard threatened woman before suspension
Louisville senior guard Chris Jones was dismissed from the team this weekend and it sent major waves throughout college basketball. The starting guard and the ACC’s leader in steals per game, Jones allegedly threatened to smack a woman in a text message last week, according to the report from university police.
Jones was in a relationship with the woman, and according to the report by university police, the woman messed up the guard’s room on Tuesday, prompting the senior guard to allegedly text her the threatening message. The guard was later suspended for Louisville’s Wednesday loss to Syracuse — in which he did not travel with the team — but was re-instated and scored 17 points in a home win over Miami on Saturday.
The woman is not indentified in the report, but did not want prosecution for Jones. She merely, “preferred that someone talk to him about his behavior.”
Louisville’s Dean of Students is also going to be notified of the incident.
The loss of Jones is going to hurt Louisville’s ability to create offense in its backcourt and its ball pressure on defense, but they’ll have to move on quickly to find someone to play alongside Terry Rozier.
Jones, who came off the bench Saturday, started 24 of the 26 games he played in and led the Cardinals in assists (3.6 apg) and steals (2.0 spg). Jones also averaged 13.7 points per game, which was third on the team behind sophomore guard Terry Rozier and junior forward Montrezl Harrell.
In each of the last two games Louisville has started freshman Quentin Snider in place of Jones, and the freshman performed well in the Cardinals’ loss at Syracuse. Snider played 38 minutes in that game, accounting for 13 points, four assists and three rebounds. However he was unable to build on that performance Saturday, as he played just five minutes and failed to register a point, rebound or assist.
Without Jones more will be asked of both Snider and senior Wayne Blackshear, who continues to have issues from a consistency standpoint. Blackshear scored ten points on Saturday, and he scored 19 in a loss to NC State, but he also went scoreless in the loss at Syracuse. In a home win over Pittsburgh, Blackshear aggravated a hip pointer that has been an issue for him recently.
The other question is how Louisville accounts for the loss of Jones on the defensive end. With Jones suspended for the loss at Syracuse the Cardinals did not use their full court pressure all that often, and that impacted their aggressiveness in the half court as well. This could be the biggest concern for the Cardinals moving forward, as they look to make a run deep into March.
Louisville senior guard expected to return Saturday after being suspended for Wednesday’s loss at Syracuse
After being suspended for Wednesday’s loss at Syracuse, Louisville senior guard Chris Jones is expected to return Saturday when the Cardinals take on Miami. How much playing time Jones will receive, provided there are no issues between now and Saturday, remains to be seen. But he is a player the Cardinals need on the floor if they’re to be successful.
Jones leads Louisville in assists, and his defense is also a key component in Louisville’s pressure. Without Jones at the point of the press the Cardinals didn’t use it all that often against Syracuse, and that cost them. Syracuse committed just seven turnovers Wednesday night, and players other than Trevor Cooney shot 21-for-37 from the field.
Louisville also charts its deflections, and according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal the Cardinals finished the game with just 18 deflections (their goal is 35). Without the pressure to call upon, Louisville looked passive defensively. If Jones has learned from this misstep, his return will help the Cardinals as they look to turn things around after having lost three of their last four games.
Louisville’s starting point guard Chris Jones has been suspended by the program, the school announced on Tuesday night.
Jones will not be traveling with the Cardinals on Wednesday when they play at Syracuse.
Jones has had an issue with his attitude all season long. He was benched earlier in the season as a result of his shot selection, a punishment that resulted in Jones playing some of his best basketball of the season. In a win over Pittsburgh last week, Jones spent much of the second half glued to the bench. He was 5-for-16 from the floor and 1-for-7 from three in the loss to N.C. State on Saturday.
Jones is averaging 13.6 points, 3.9 boards and 3.7 assists on the season. Freshmen Quentin Snider and Shaqquan Aaron and sophomore Anton Gill will likely see an increase in minutes in his absence.
Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell channeled his inner Grant Hill Saturday afternoon (VIDEO)
Chris Jones’ lob was a bit off the mark but that was no issue for Harrell, who needed just one hand to not only keep the ball from flying out of bounds but to finish with authority. A highly impressive play by arguably the most powerful athlete in college basketball.
Which alley-oop would you pick between the two: Hill’s or Harrell’s? I’d go Hill, but not by much.