On Tuesday, Northwest Florida State sophomore point guard and Louisville commit Chris Jones was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Junior College Player of the Year.
The 5-foot-10 point guard averaged 22.9 points per game in his final season at Northwest Florida State, leading the Raiders to their second consecutive national championship game appearance. Jones ended his junior college career with a 62-6 record over the course of two seasons.
“He’s just a great player,” said Northwest Florida State head coach Steve Forbes said in a school statement earlier this month when Jones was selected as an All-American.. “He works hard and he deserves everything he gets. He has had a great two years here and I really think being here has helped Chris a lot. He has matured both mentally and physically, and he’s a better player now than when he got here.”
Jones will need to translate the success he had in the JUCO ranks to the D1 level, as the Cardinals begin their title defense in October without the leadership of senior guard Peyton Siva.
Louisville returns Russ Smith, Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock from this season’s title team while losing center Gorgui Dieng to the draft.
Rick Pitino will look to Jones and incoming freshman Terry Rozier (Hargrave Military Academy/Shaker Heights, Ohio) to help with the ballhandling duites, especially with sophomore guard Kevin Ware returing from his broken leg. Shooting guard Anton Gill (Hargrave Military Academy/Raliegh, N.C.) and power forward Akoy Agau (Omaho Central High, Omaho, Neb.) are also members of Louisville’s incoming class.
“It looks like Chris made a great choice of where to finish his college career,” Forbes added. “I know he’s ready to get up there. They are getting a good player.”
Photo courtesy of @NWF_Raiders