Baylor-bound Jones oozes potential
When Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) and Lincoln (Dallas) square off Friday night, two of the nation's premier frontcourt players -- Duncanville's Perry Jones and Lincoln's LeBryan Nash -- will take center stage. This matchup will be a very interesting contrast of talented combination forwards. Jones, a Baylor signee, has the most NBA potential of any player in the senior class. Nash, conversely, is defined by his production at the prep level. Still, the junior prospect also has monster potential at the college level. As frontcourt players both are working toward and have the skills and athleticism to play small forward. Here's a look at a matchup of potential versus production:
I like to call Perry Jones "Mr. Potential." During the past year, the 6-foot-11 prospect has proved that his skills make him a candidate to spend a year in college, then jump to the NBA draft, in which he likely would be a lottery pick.
Jones has great size and elite skills. He can shoot the ball facing the basket from 17 feet and in. Also, his athletic ability is remarkable; he runs the floor like a sprinter. When he grabs a rebound, he can take it from coast to coast with ease. Surprisingly, Jones has excellent peripheral vision. He can make the pass that leads to the assist and can hit an open cutter to the basket. When he's motivated, he can go inside, post up and score over anyone. Of course, we'd like to see him do more of this, because he can. It would expand his skill set to make him that much tougher to guard. There isn't anywhere on the floor from which he can't score -- although he's much more comfortable facing up than with his back to the hoop.
Defensively, Jones is like a pterodactyl with an incredible wingspan. He challenges, changes and blocks shots. Nobody starts a fast break off the defensive glass better than Jones. Also, his versatility allows him to guard the 2 through 5 positions effectively.
Everyone is waiting to see to Jones' gigantic potential translate into more results on the court. At this level, when he steps on the floor he is the most talented player on the court. At times, he still doesn't realize what he's capable of and disappears during possessions. He has a man's body, but he's still very young. At some point, the light will go on and he will realize he is capable of dominating every game he plays at this level. With his talent, Jones should be an automatic double-double threat. In fact, at the prep level he can be a triple-double threat (in points, rebounds and blocks).
First-year Duncanville coach Eric McDade says Jones provides leadership for the team, is extremely coachable and, when engaged, works very hard. He has had the benefit of playing with some very talented players at one of the top programs in Texas. (Last year's Duncanville roster included Texas signee Shawn Williams and Oklahoma State recruits Reger Dowell and Roger Franklin.) Now, as a senior, it's Jones' time to become Duncanville's go-to option.
LeBryan NashNash is an extremely productive player with high upside. His body is physically imposing, and he plays the game with an aggressive, attacking approach.
Nash makes his living inside first. He begins his game down low and works his way out. He'll take smaller defenders and punish them inside. He does an exceptinal job of locating his defender and spinning away from him. Conversely, he can take bigger defenders away from the hoop. He can shoot the perimeter jumper well from 17 feet and is streaky from long range. Once he gets near the rim, he's an extraordinary finisher because of his great athleticism with the ability to take defenders with him to the basket. His performance is so impressive at a young age.
At times during games, Nash loses his cool and struggles with adversity when things don't go his way. His attitude could be a hindrance to his development. As he continues to develop his skills and hone his mental approach to the game, the sky is the limit for this young man. Nash's coach, Leonard Bishop, who has coached talents such as Chris Bosh and Byron Eaton, said he has been impressed with the junior's production. He clearly labels Nash as the reason that Lincoln is 11-0.
Paul Biancardi is a veteran of the coaching ranks with years of college experience. He has recruited on a national level with stops as an assistant coach at Boston University and Boston College, associate head coach at Ohio State and most recently as an assistant at Saint Louis University. Biancardi was head coach at Wright State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2003, he was named Horizon League Coach of the Year. He is a selection committee member for the prestigious McDonald's All-America Game and the Gatorade Player of the Year award.