Duke basketball’s top 10 role players of the last decade

Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Matt Jones
Matt Jones (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The best Duke basketball role players since 2010: Matt Jones

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Guard. 2013-17. 434. Matt Jones. 3. player

Or Matty-ice is what he became known as. Matt Jones is the definition of a role player in my eyes. Jones was a classic 3-and-D type of player. He had an awkward shooting form, but he always shot it pretty well. Jones wasn’t a guy who you could rely on for consistent offensive production or a guy who could create for himself and others.

But Jones was a perfect fit for what Duke basketball needed, especially in 2015. As a sophomore that year, he started off the season coming off the bench. He eventually replaced Amile Jefferson in the starting five, and that’s when it seemed like that Duke team turned the corner.

Jones allowed for Jahlil Okafor to have more room to operate in the post. It gave Duke an extra shooter and wing defender. That’s really all that the Blue Devils needed Jones to do, and he did exactly that. He starred in his role during the championship run. He knocked down big shots, including four three’s in Duke’s Elite Eight win over Gonzaga. He also helped defend Sam Dekker in the championship game, holding him to just 12 points on 6-for-15 shooting.

Jones sort of plateaued after that championship season. He was still a good defender and outside shooter but never really became a complete player. When Jones was not hitting outside shots, he was an offensive liability. He wasn’t particularly adept at creating his own shot, getting in the lane, or getting fouled. Still, during his junior season, Jones was an essential player to have on the court. His maturity, experience, and defensive prowess allowed him to play over 30 minutes per game both in his junior and senior seasons.

Also during his junior season, Jones suffered a sprained ankle against UNC and never seemed to be fully healthy. Duke was extremely thin on the perimeter that year, which probably forced Jones to come back a little bit sooner than he should have.

During his senior season, Jones was surrounded by perimeter talent, including Grayson Allen, Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, and Frank Jackson, all NBA players. Yet Matt Jones still started 33 games and played nearly 33 minutes per game. The most memorable Matt Jones moment that year came with a game-clinching 3-pointer against Notre Dame in the ACC championship game.

Matt Jones went undrafted in 2017 and played a couple of seasons for the Sacramento Kings G-League affiliate before taking his talents to Taiwan, where he currently plays.