With the passing of each basketball season one chapter closes another begins anew. On March 19,2016, another chapter in the history of Butler basketball came to an end as the Bulldogs bowed out of the tournament in the Round of 32 to the Cavaliers of Virginia.
While it was another successful season for the Bulldogs who compiled a 22-11 record and have fast been a successful constant in the Big East, it was also one that ended in abrupt fashion. The abruptness of the end, which is sadly the nature of the NCAA Tournament also meant the end to a number of collegiate careers at Butler.
Among them was the end of the remarkable five year career of Roosevelt Jones, who arrived at Butler the season after their second defeat in the National Championship game. This time at the hands of the Connecticut Huskies.
NBA Draft 2016
NBA Draft 2016
Over the course of Jones' four years at Butler, he would play in three conference as the Bulldogs would make the jump from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10, before finally landing in the Big East, which he would take by storm with his play.
He would play under three head coaches, beginning with Brad Stevens who brought the 6'4" 225 lbs. forward to Indianapolis and would play his first two seasons under Stevens before he left to coach the Boston Celtics. Following Stevens, came the brief stint of Brandon Miller for one season, however Jones missed the duration of that season due to a wrist injury while on a preseason trip to Australia.
What he missed, he would make up in the final two seasons under Chris Holtmann to close out his career.
Through it all, he would appear in the NCAA Tournament three times over the course of his career, each time ending in the Round of 32. With each progressing season, his play and numbers would progress. In his final season, which would also be the best of his collegiate career, Jones would average 13.8 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 4.7 rebounds per game. His final career averages would be 11.0 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and 3.3 assist per game.
Now with the sun setting on his collegiate career, Jones has his eyes set on the next level as he is set to take part in Thursday night's NBA draft. With that in mind, let's take a look a the scouting report and make up of Roosevelt Jones, Butler's leading rebounder and stalwart forward for the last five years.
The good part in his game
Listed at 6'4" and 225 lbs., Jones is more broad then he is tall. What he might lack in height, he makes up in his build especially in his work in the perimeter and underneath the basket well within his comfort zone in a jack of all trades fashion. Probably his most important asset given his frame is his ball handling skills, which have come in hand over the years at Butler. In particular, his ability to move and distribute the ball. In his final season, Jones lead the Bulldogs in assist by a long way with 154 over the duration of the season. The runner up to Jones was Tyler Lewis who finished with 82 assists on the season. For his career, he finished his time with a grand total of 464 assists.
What he can share, he can also put away as Jones complemented his touch for spreading the wealth with a perimeter pounding scoring ability. With his size, his ability to work and get to the basket was fantastic given the chance to put it away or draw fouls. In his final season he was third in scorer at 13.8 points per game, and in his career averaged as mentioned earlier 11.0 points per game over four seasons of play. In his first season under Chris Holtmann, he was second on the team in free throw attempts and in his final season lead the way in both free throw attempts and free throws made.
What he can give, he can also take away as on defense Jones' abilities to work in the perimeter and paint matched his offensive proficiency. With each progressive season, his total rebound numbers got better with each successive game and season. In his final season he finished second only to Kelan Martin in terms of total rebounds with 218 and was .2 off of Martin's rebound per game pace at 6.6. On his career, he bagged 464 total rebounds and averaged 5.9 per game. His final season would also see a bonanza for steals, leading the Bulldogs with 50 swipes and averaging 1.5 steals per game. His total steal numbers from his final season were a serious uptick as his first season back from wrist surgery he only stole the ball 35 times. Seems he was able to reach his full defensive potential once fully healed.
Overall, Jones is a well rounded player that has a jack of all trades approach to the game and when he gets going can pose a near triple double threat, something that he was able to achieve in his final season against St. John's as he went off for 10 points, 10 assists, and 14 rebounds. He can be the force underneath or work as a facilitator and ball traffic controller.
The Bad part in his game
Naturally with the good comes the bad and in the case of Roosevelt Jones its his limits and the inability to work out of his comfort zone. He range of movement is limited as he will or may never stray out from beyond the interior of the perimeter. In particular on offense through the duration of his years at Butler, Jones only attempted just four three-point attempts and only made once of those four shots, which came in his fourth and final season. In the end his ability to not shot a three, might not hurt him, but the limits on his range of peculiar given the fact that all the good facets of his game can give off the appearance of someone who has a some range to match his movement.
Along with his comfort is also the fact that he has been turnover prone in the past, especially early on in his career. While his turnover number have dropped with each successive season, they can still rear their ugly head. The most glaring numbers though came in his 2012-2013 season when Butler was in the Atlantic 10. That season he had 103 total turnovers on the season, a massive spike from his freshman season where he had 53 turnovers. That number would come down in the season following wrist surgery where his turnover numbers dropped to a total of 89. It does seem that with the progress and development in particular in handling the ball that has done wonders to drop turnovers as he had only 77 in his final season, but it is still something to keep an eye on.
That 2012-2013 season, Jones' was also tied with Andrew Smith for most fouls on the Bulldogs. Which brings the final intriguing or rather glaring facet of his game which is fouls. That season he had 100 total fouls on the season and was fouling at a rate of 2.8 fouls per game. Interestingly enough his freshman season he had 95 total fouls and a rate of 2.6. His final two seasons of play did season drops in total fouls but a constant in fouls per game at 2.5. Unfortunately given his broad size and interior play he is one to draw contact and fouls. How he manages it has been decent with each successive season, but is still something to keep an eye out for.
Where does he go in the draft?
The ideal spot would be late in the second round or as a UDFA. It is very likely that he will go undrafted, this due to the fact of the limits in his game, but also given that there is a bit of a logjam at his position and on the draft board and the fact that he weighs more than many of the prospects at his position and the issue of speed at the next level. However that might work in his favor given that if drafted he is being drafted on more known quantities then unknown potential, in this case his abilities and size which could be molded.
He is good enough to earn a spot or flyer for a tryout in preseason and in summer league. In the likeness of getting drafted or signed following the draft he will most likely be on his way to the D-League to either hone his skills or be stashed for a later date. In the end some team may be getting a dedicated player who runs and plays like a well oiled machine.