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Xavier 2017-2018 Player Preview: Tyrique Jones

Tyrique Jones brings a junkyard dog mentality and the meanest of mean mugs to his sophomore season.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Marquette
Dunkface, though
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrique Jones appeared in barely more than a quarter of Xavier’s minutes last season. If, like me, you found that to be a surprise, consider that in those 11 minutes per contest, Jones racked up a higher usage rate than Quentin Goodin and could routinely be counted on to be around the action. His offensive efficiency was a more than respectable 109.9, but it was his proclivity for fouling (7.3 per 40 minutes) and being fouled (3.9) that could make him seem ever present. Add in the highest offensive rebounding rate on the team and an increasing role as the season went on, and those 11 minutes become more memorable.

All that mean mugging, dunking, and fouling didn’t translate to enormous numbers as a freshman. Jones posted a line of 4.2/3.1/0.3 on 60.2% from the floor and a grim 48% from the line. Jones hasn’t been shy about sharing social media of himself working out, so what can we expect from an even stronger dog this year?

Best case scenario:

Jones has spent the summer in some sort of class about controlling aggression. With that Jones still attacks the rim like a man possessed, but doesn’t flail at every shot, head fake, or exposed limb that comes his way. If Tyrique can play at least 20 minutes per game, and Rashid Gaston isn’t in the way anymore, there’s no reason he can’t at least double last year’s output.

Worst case scenario:

Tyrique is who he is. That means that along with 16 point conference road game efforts against Creighton or 13/4/1 against Florida State’s allegedly superior front line, come goose eggs in conference losses to Villanova and Butler in back to back games. The skill and tenacity is there, but Jones becomes a Jalen Reynolds like weapon that is, at times, his own worst enemy.

Most likely scenario:

Xavier’s coaches turned Matt Stainbrook into a slick passing point center, James Farr into one of the best rebounders in the game, and even managed to keep the aformentioned Jalen on the court for 20 minutes per game. That, combined with Jones work ethic and natural rage, seem to be indicators that his game will be on the rise. He may not play 20 minutes per game this season, but he should provide a consistent impact in the post.