CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — As a former 4-star recruit, is comes as a surprise that Tevian Jones spent most of his first season on the bench. Marlee Wierda reports on his freshman season, and his outlook for the future.
An eight-game suspension kept Jones out of the game for over a month, but the freshman says the time he spent off the court was a valuable lesson learned.
“Just being able to see some things those games I sat out, and me being able to come back and try to get back into the flow, I kinda had to take it slow,” Jones said.
“He had some challenges early, he had some difficulties early,” head coach Brad Underwood said. “Tevian will probably admit that maybe he had unrealestic expectations early.”
Following his suspension he only averaged 9 minutes over the course of the next five games. But a breakout performance for Jones came late January, when he scored 18 points to help lead the Illini to an upset win over #13 Maryland. It was their first win of the season away from the State Farm Center, and the first time they beat a ranked opponent.
“I know coach has a plan, and if that’s me playing two minutes here, two minutes there, then I’m gonna play those two minutes as hard as I can,” Jones said. “Whatever I need to do to help the team. I think I showed my potential well, just being able to make the most of my minutes while I’m out there.”
As the Illini head into the offseason, Jones says he’s ready to build more confidence in the weightroom and on the court. And while the 6’7′ guard ended his season averging only 3 and a half points per game, that’s just a glimpse at whats to come.
“Next year, I feel like it’s gonna be big for me,” Jones said.
He built some momentum for the offseason with an 11 point performance in the season finale against Iowa.