Duke basketball’s biggest sleeper: What to expect from Bates Jones

Duke basketball grad transfer Bates Jones (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball grad transfer Bates Jones (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /

Forgotten in the crowd, a Duke basketball newbie may see an important role.

Acquiring unfamiliar names is nothing new for the Duke basketball program, and graduate transfer Bates Jones adds to that long list. Making his way to Durham from Davidson, Jones’ career stats don’t scream anything special. However, there’s no ruling out the possibility that he can crack into the rotation for the Blue Devils.

There are familiar ties with Duke, as Bates Jones is the younger brother of former Blue Devil quarterback, now with the New York Giants, Daniel Jones.

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward spent four seasons with the Davidson Wildcats, and in those averaged a total of 1.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.7 assists per game. Despite these modest stats, the impact Bates Jones has on a game doesn’t necessarily translate to the box score.

But there have been instances that he did leave an impact in the scoring column. This past season against Southern Virginia, Jones had himself the best game of his college career. He tallied 15 points and eight rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the field.

Two weeks later, in a win over George Mason at the Atlantic 10 Tournament, Bates contributed 11 points, knocking down three 3-pointers and exhibiting strong pump fakes:

By no means are Blue Devil fans to expect this type of performance from Jones game in and game out, but it does show just how capable of a college player he is.

It’s also worth noting that the Charlotte native hit 12 of his 32 attempts from downtown (37.5 percent) as a senior. Plus, Jones did average 8.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per 40 minutes for a 2020-21 Wildcats team that finished No. 3 in the conference standings.

What does the Duke basketball transfer bring to the Blue Devils?

Most of the impact that the 22-year-old forward will bring to the 2021-22 Duke basketball team is likely to be behind closed doors. There is a chance that Bates Jones can make an impact on the court, especially if injuries or foul trouble bedevil the frontcourt. That said, the decision to bring him on board probably wasn’t entirely based on the hopes of him playing in every single game.

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Pushing the freshmen. Helping maintain that competitive nature within the team at all times. Those are some of the things that Jones should excel in.

Considering the magnitude of some of the prospects making their way to Durham, it could be easy for their heads to get inflated with the success. Every squad needs a few guys who make those players work no matter what their status is.

As to what Jones can bring on the court, he brings toughness. He isn’t a ball-dominant player, and he’s able to adjust on a fly, barring any unexpected changes the defense throws his way. His basketball IQ is one of his strong suits and will definitely become a liking of head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Duke basketball’s world-famous floor-slapping defensive approach ought to become first nature for the graduate transfer. He certainly isn’t the greatest defender within college basketball. Yet he gives his all every single night.

Predicting Duke's starting lineup next season. dark. Next

A championship team requires players who prioritize team success rather than personal success. Bates Jones is a player who is team-first, and that could prove evident in creating a championship culture with the Duke Blue Devils next season.