Eyebrows were raised during and after SMU’s season-opening win against TCU on Friday evening when Jalen Jones, SMU’s leading scorer and top offensive player from a year ago, did not dress for the game. There were no reports of Jones being hurt or suspended, so questions were naturally raised.
Jones’ announcement of his decision to transfer is an immediate blow for Larry Brown and the Mustangs; replacing his 14.0 ppg and 7.8 rpg, to go along with 32.4 mpg he logged last season won’t be an easy task.
Ironically enough, the concern of playing time is a probable reason Jones decided to transfer elsewhere.
Jones tweeted on Saturday afternoon:
Following the game, Adam Grosbard stated:
The fact that Larry Brown started Ryan Manuel against TCU may have suggested that Jones would be coming off of the bench if he was to dress for the game.
Four newcomers played major minutes against TCU. Nic Moore — a transfer point guard from Illinois State — freshman guard Keith Frazier, Junior College center Yanick Moreira, and Villanova transfer Markus Kennedy. There are many new faces in the rotation for SMU, and Jones ostensibly felt he was going to lose minutes.
Jones is a bit of a “tweener” in that he doesn’t have the perimeter shooting ability (19-63 from 3PT for his career) and skills needed for a small forward, and is not quite as long to play power forward. Plus, with the high-level talent that Brown is bringing to Dallas, Jones may feel it is in the best interest for the remainder of his college career to head elsewhere.
Despite that, Jones projected to play an integral role on this year’s SMU team and certainly would have helped them in their hopes of making it to the NCAA Tournament.
He’s a proven commodity, and you can bet college coaches around the country would love to scoop up Jones and retain his services. When he settles in at another school, he will have two years of eligibility remaining.