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A Good Piece On Tre Jones

Duke’s freshman point guard has a lot to live up to, but he has the potential to make his own distinct path.

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High School Basketball: McDonalds High School All American Games
Mar 28, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; McDonalds All-American West guard Tre Jones (0) celebrates a victory against the East in the McDonalds High School All American Game at Philips Arena. 
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of attention, and understandably so after the games in Toronto and Montreal, on RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson. Both showed immense promise.

There are two more freshmen we have yet to get a first look at though due to injuries - Cam Reddish and Tre Jones (we promise to fight the urge to type Tre Jones).

Nothing replaces the eye test but we feel like we have a pretty good sense of Reddish and our guess is that he’ll be sort of like the queen on a chess board and that Duke will use him somewhat as Duke used Shane Battier, putting him where he’s needed because he can do so many different things. We’re not saying he can defend like Battier but Coach K used Battier to address whatever weakness the team had. Rebounding? Got it. Need a three point spree? Got it. A couple of turns in the post? Whatever you need coach.

At one point, he said Coach K just told him to “run around and make things happen.” What a cool thing to tell a player. How much trust is there in that statement?

But’s like the sorting hat in Harry Potter. There’s a lot in there but what house does he go in?

In Duke’s case, the house is what sort of point guard and the legacy of his brother, Tyus, looms.

The fact that he looks enormously like his brother shouldn't tempt us to think that he is Tyus II. He’s a different player.

In this article, Sports Illustrated’s Emily Caron hits on that:

“Tre’s older brother Tyus was a fan favorite in Durham, averaging 11.8 points and dishing out 5.6 assists in his lone season, but some would say that the younger Jones is the more well-rounded of the two—which is saying a lot. If Tyus had the basketball IQ, Tre has the physical talent. He should orchestrate a very efficient Duke offense.“

That’s pretty perceptive but we’d add something else to it.

From all we’ve seen Tre is indeed the more talented of the two. He has considerably more physical ability than Tyus. However we keep wondering if part of Tyus’s brilliance - and he’s a brilliant point guard - is because he’s not as talented as some of the guys he had to overcome.

In other words, being less talented than others, including Tre, was never a hindrance. Instead we think it is what made him so remarkable. He had to use his head to beat more talented players and he did it all the time.

Now reverse the question. Does having more talent mean that Tre relies on it to overcome opponents?

Whatever it turns out to be, don't forget this: no one understands what made Tyus so great better than Tre. Tyus has been a willing and eager teacher and we expect Tre soaked up the lessons.

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