Terps' Jones grows into senior moment
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#1 Mar 3, 2007
It's about time you "write" about Mike Jones. He's the most improved player this year on the Terps. Grantend, without Vasquez's and Strawberry's energy, the Terps would be in trouble. But without Jones's new-found overall game, the Terps team would be playing again for a spot in the NIT.
Here's the thing I don't understand....all you do is write safe stories. So, I'm not a bit surprised by this article. Take a chance every once in a while and stop writing what you think people want to hear about the Terps.
Go Terps! Go Gary!
Len Bias forever ('86)
#2 Mar 5, 2007
I'm surprise it took the staff at the Baltimore Sun so long to write an article about Mike Jones. Mike was never overrated, he just never got the playing time as a freshman or sophmore to develop. Look at what he had done since becoming a starter. Had he been playing more from the beginning we would all be talking about Mike they way people talked about J.J.Reddick last year. It's all about being on the court.
I make no apologies for being a Mike Jones fan and I'm glad the Baltimore Sun is finally giving the guy his over due recognition. Although, it seem a little misguided and more about DJ's opinions.
#3 Mar 5, 2007
I was thrilled to finally see an article about Mike Jones, but your article is full of the same knocks and digs that have been so common throughout Mike’s career. Even my mother said of your article,“It’s damning with faint praise!” How right she is. The press and Gary Williams have waxed and gushed over the stellar play of other Terps, but when Mike is complimented there’s often a sharp barb attached.
Here’s an example of the kind of barbed praise Mike receives: "Only recently has Jones become more consistent." We've heard the consistency critique for years. But isn't it difficult, if not impossible, to become a consistent, complete player when you're on the bench? People forget that Jones was on the bench for most of his first two and a half years at Maryland. Very few people asked the question, "Why did Gary play a 5-star recruit only 10 minutes a game as a freshman?" Oh, that's right, because he "couldn't play defense," the coach and critics said. As a sophomore, Mike only averaged 13.7 minutes a game. The bottom line: it's very difficult for a player of such high caliber to demonstrate his excellence when the coach decides he's better as a bench warmer than a sharp shooter.
And how about this "praise" for Jones:“It just happened to take about three years to develop” his game. This is one of Gary’s favorite lines these days. It’s good of you to parrot it. But analyze the stats, particularly Mike’s playing time. When McCray flunked out last season, Mike finally started to get some real game time. That’s how players develop. Unfortunately, Mike has been on such a short leash with Gary. Even in his senior season, Gary still plays him like a yo-yo. He's often in and out, in and out of the games. If he takes a bad shot or commits a turnover, he’s often yanked. So everyone speaks of how his numbers (particularly his points) are up and down and inconsistent.
When Mike gets the playing time he contributes. In the 19 games this season (as of March 4) that Mike played 25+ minutes, he averaged 15.4 points. Hardly a shabby stat, considering we play in arguably the best conference! By comparison, in the 26 games that Strawberry played 25+ minutes, he averaged 15.0 points. Better yet, in the 12 games that Mike played 28+ minutes, he averaged 16.8 points per game! This doesn’t include his 29 point performance against Mount St. Mary’s, or his 27 point performance against UMKC. It may come as no surprise that DJ has played well over 30 minutes in most of the games this season, and for a good chunk of his career. In fact, he's played 30+ minutes in ALL but 8 games this season. Mike, on the other hand, has played 30+ minutes in ONLY 6 games this season. If Mike had been getting this kind of playing time consistently throughout his career, his numbers would be through the roof.
"Still, his career numbers at Maryland are a far cry from what earned him the title of McDonald's All-American," you write. You mention how he averaged 8.9 points in 124 games. Now after the NC State game, it’s 9.0 points in 125 games. But you fail to mention how our McDonald’s All-American (as of March 4) averaged ONLY 18.3 minutes per game over his entire career at Maryland! The fact that Mike was able to score 9 points for every 18 minutes of play is remarkable. Imagine what he could have done if he’d played 30+ minutes a game.
As for Mike’s inconsistency, following the NC State game he has more career points (1127) than even DJ (1093), DESPITE having played almost 600 fewer minutes! How inconsistent of him to lead this group of seniors at the end of the regular season with the MOST CAREER POINTS. If Mike had been given the kinds of minutes reserved for Gary’s favorite players, he would have broken record after record. And rather than criticize his so-called inconsistency and late blooming, we’d be talking about his prospects in the NBA draft.
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