Duke Basketball: Season preview for freshman point guard Tre Jones

Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The 2018-19 Duke basketball roster contains so many potent pieces that it needs an adequately talented point guard to ensure all the pieces receive an adequate number of touches; thankfully, that roster includes Tre Jones.

It’s not really fair to set expectations for any younger brother based on what his older brother accomplished before him; each and every person, after all, is unique. In the case of Duke basketball freshman Tre Jones, though, using the game of his championship-winning older brother, Tyus, to describe his own game is just the simplest and most accurate method.

And the younger Jones should simply view this as both a compliment and vote of confidence in his abilities. As for those abilities, this latest crop of ultra-talented Blue Devils — ranked No. 4 in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll — will be counting on them as they pursue the program’s first national title since Tyus was in town for his one-and-only college season (2014-15).

Jones, like his big brother, is a natural and gifted point guard who head coach Mike Krzyzewski will be depending on to lead the team’s offense; barring an injury or some other unforeseen turn of events, Jones will draw the start at point guard all season, including for the season opener on Tuesday against No. 2 Kentucky in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis at 9:30 p.m. EST.

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And, like Tyus, Tre is sure to act as the floor general with one overriding intention:  putting his teammates in the best position to score while trying to minimize his own mistakes — he had nine assists and just two turnovers in each of Duke’s two exhibition wins.

Spotting the open man while quickly and crisply delivering the ball to the ideal spot is probably Jones’ best skill.

However, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Minnesota native’s talents as a passer don’t mean he isn’t capable of scoring on his own — he was a combined 9-of-20 from the field, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, across those two exhibitions and the Blue-White scrimmage in late October. Despite having an adept stroke from long range, his ability to drive to the basket and consistently finish is likely to be his most potent way of accumulating buckets, resembling — no surprise here — Tyus.

When Duke basketball fans witness the latest Jones brother shoot, though, they should feel confident that no better option was available. That’s due to the fact that the McDonald’s All-American — one of four Blue Devils freshmen ranked in the top 15 of the 2018 class on the 247Sports Composite — doesn’t seem to have a speck of selfish blood in his body.

And he also doesn’t seem to possess a speck of laziness when trying to keep opponents from scoring. He is a harassing defender, evidenced by his whopping five steals during Duke’s 132-48 thumping of its last exhibition opponent, Ferris State.

With the combination of all his Tyus-like skills, by the time he leaves Durham — he has the potential to be worthy of bolting for the NBA after this season, but many speculate he will be in college for at least two years — Tre hopes to have done for the Blue Devils what he was in attendance to watch Tyus do on April 6, 2015.

And although he wouldn’t be the first in his family to do so, fans would be equally giddy to watch the younger Jones celebrate with his teammates under falling confetti following a Monday night win in April.

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And even if the Blue Devils come up short, after having to witness the oft-inept play and self-hyping actions of the program’s overrated freshman point guard last season — the same guy who recently appeared to use a tweet to at least partially blame Coach K for his going undrafted — it’s comforting for fans to see that a national championship appears to be Jones’ primary goal.