Duke fans got a great look into the future on Thursday night when Matt Jones and DeSoto (Tex.) took on Jabari Parker and Simeon (Ill.) on ESPN. Jones’ game high 23 points led DeSoto past the No. 1 team in the country, 67-57.
Jones showcased his diverse offensive game and how much he has grown since committing during his sophomore year. Where he once relied heavily on spot-up jumpers, he now is his team’s primary ballhandler and showed surprisingly good instincts in the pick-and-roll game with his teammates.
What impressed me the most was the different ways he was able to score. He hit a three, drove the lane, posted up, got to the line, went to the floater and took defenders off the dribble. I had compared him to Rasheed Sulaimon on the Speak of the Devil podcast earlier Thursday and that comparison looked eerie on the court.
Parker was only at about 60 percent and was being used in three-minutes on, three-minutes off segments throughout the game while he works himself back into playing shape. He looked rusty, but so would anyone who hasn’t been playing basketball consistently for the past three months.
He had his moments, however. There were a few times were I found myself saying “Oh wow. His 60 percent is better than a whole lot of people’s 100.” He can hurt you in so many ways and he has a way to beat any type of defender you throw at him.
Tom Izzo, Dave Rose (BYU) and Mike Krzyzewski were in attendance to make a last-ditch impression on Parker, who will be making his decision next Thursday, Dec. 20. Florida sent an assistant since the Gators are preparing for a game against Arizona.
- DeSoto’s Devin Wyatt had a solid performance. 6-foot-7 wing with good athleticism, Wyatt is getting a lot of mid-level major looks with Texas A&M and Texas Tech being the biggest names. 2014, a lot of time left, has some good upside.
- Simeon’s Kendrick Nunn looks stronger and more confident than when I saw him last January at the Hoophall. He’s still a knockdown shooter but looks to have made a commitment to defense and broadening his offensive game. He and Jaylon Tate are great gets for Illinois.
- Kendall Pollard‘s dunk was the play of the night. Freaky athlete that kid, going to be great for Dayton.
Jimmy Kelley is the founder and lead writer for Devils in Durham. Follow him on Twitter @JKell17