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Tyrique Jones’ Underrated Season

Zach Hankins rightfully got a lot of publicity, but Xavier's returning big man quietly bathed himself in glory this year.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It was quite a season for the Musketeers.

With everything that was going on this year, between the new coaches, players taking on new roles across the board, appearance in the Maui invitational, a couple of close calls in the other non-conference games, the six game losing and the incredible turnaround after it, it’s easy to forget some of the individual performances the players put on.

Naji Marshall took a big leap this season, playing incredible defense and getting better on offense as the season wore on. He even made the Big East All-Conference 2nd team and put stats only one other underclassman, RJ Barrett*, did.

Paul Scruggs filled a lot of different roles this season, finishing second on the team in scoring and playing strong defense all season.

Quentin Goodin finished fifth in the Big East in assist turnover ratio and eclipsed 100 assists for the third time in three seasons and continued to be a plus on the defensive end.

Zach Hankins played his way into the starting lineup and was the best shot blocker in the conference, leading the Big East in block percentage and finishing second in total blocks. Oh, he also set the school record in field goal percentage.

Seemingly lost in all of this is the steady improvement of Tyrique Jones. Much was made of his impressive body transformation in the preseason, rightfully so, and it helped him average nearly 10 more minutes a game than last season.

He jumped from 15.0 minutes a game last season to 24.8 this season, and his production jumped as a result. It wasn’t just that he was able to stay on the floor longer, but he was also productive in the extra playing time.

Numerous categories increased for Jones this season, including: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, free throw percentage, offensive rebound percentage, rebound percentage, offensive and defensive win shares, total win shares, and offensive box plus minus.

He improved his offensive rebounding so much that he was third in the country in offensive rebound percentage according to KenPom, and first in the Big East. However, according to Sport-Reference, he was first in the country, He also led the Big East in total offensive rebounds and was 12th in the country.

Jones also ranked in the top twenty in numerous other categories within the Big East. In addition to his offensive rebounding, he was third in total rebounds and 13th in defensive rebounds in the conference. His defensive rebounding percentage ranked sixth in the conference.

He was 10th in total blocks, with 29, and ninth in block percentage. He also was fourth in the Big East with a 62.4% field goal percentage and 151 made two point field goals.

Jones had the third best offensive rating, 123.4, and the 14th best defensive rating, 101.9, in the Big East as well. He was a top ten player in the conference according to box plus minus, offensive box plus minus, and win shares per 40 minutes.

All of this is a really long winded way of saying: Tyrique was a very impactful player this season and arguably had a case an honorable mention on the all-conference teams. He was steady at both ends of the floor, provided leadership, and showed great improvement from last season.

He should be one of the most impactful players in the conference and on the team next season. And if he takes the kind of leap many seniors have taken at Xavier, he could be an absolute force next season.

*All stats courtesy of sport-reference.com and kenpom.com

*https://twitter.com/RetireFiftyTu/status/1113159538457407488?s=20