When Butler forward Roosevelt Jones suffered a wrist injury in the offseason last year, Bulldog fans were immediately less optimistic about how they would fare as a first-year member of the Big East Conference. Jones, the team's leading returning scorer and rebounder from 2012-2013, was going to be virtually irreplaceable in the short amount of time the Bulldogs had. As it turned out, this was entirely correct, and their first go-around in the conference was representative of a bad 30-day trial that would have had Butler fans clamoring for their money back.
The Bulldogs finished dead last in the Big East with 68.5 points per game, and they finished sixth in the conference with 34.6 rebounds per game. But fear not Butler, Roosevelt Jones will be back this season. And possibly better than ever.
As a three-star recruit coming out of the Class of 2011 from O'Fallon, Illinois, Butler was the only team that expressed interest in Jones. Seemingly this was because he was a bit undersized for his position, 6-foot-4 as a small forward.
In his first season with the Bulldogs, Jones had a nice debut. He averaged 7.8 points per game, and led the team with 6.0 rebounds per game. His best game of the 2011-12 season came in a loss to Detroit on February 4. Jones scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Jones' second season was where he really began to flourish. We saw Jones eclipse the double digit mark for scoring, averaging 10.1 points per game, scoring in double figures in 18 of the team's 33 games. Jones was a driving force in the Bulldogs' upset of then No. 1 Indiana in the inaugural Crossroads Classic. In addition to his 16 points and 12 rebounds, he dished out 7 assists. Jones' biggest shot of the season came on January 19 in Butler's upset of Gonzaga. Down by a point with 3.5 seconds to play and Gonzaga inbounding the ball at half-court, Jones stole the pass, drove down the court, and hit a lay-up as time expired, giving Butler a 64-63 victory, and sending the Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd (and Dick Vitale) into a frenzy.
The 2013-14 season was set to be a breakout year for Roosevelt Jones. With Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith graduating, Jones was set to be the team's leading returning scorer and rebounder. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, who thought losing coach Brad Stevens would be the low-point of their offseason, Jones suffered torn ligaments in his wrist on the team's pre-season trip to Australia and his season ended before it began.
Jones is set to be ready to play opening night for the Bulldogs. With last season's emergence of Kellen Dunham and Alex Barlow as scoring threats, Jones should be able to fit right in and help the Bulldogs climb out of the cellar in terms of Big East offense.