A closer look at St. John's 2013 target Damian Jones

In Dave Telep's rundown from the second session of Nike's EYBL league, he dropped a nugget about Louisiana forward Damian Jones having an offer from St. John's.

His is a name we have seen associated with the Johnnies once, back when coach Steve Lavin was working to convince Ricardo Gathers to return to the Red Storm 2012 class. It's hard to know how serious a target he is for the Red Storm, but he does have an offer.

And he is 6'9".

And he is known to be athletic.

But the Bayou forward also came off of the bench for his Scotlandville High School team last season and is known to be a raw prospect. As always, height is coveted in basketball. But do his stats hint at star potential?

Below the fold, we look a little closer at Damian Jones' story, some scouting notes, and see what his stat line from Nike EYBL has to tell us about the 2013 forward. Read on, below the fold.

Telep on Damian Jones ($):

He's the prototypical not-ready-for-prime time late developing big man with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Offers include Oklahoma, St. John's and Tulane....

And ($)

Damian Jones (Baton Rouge, La./Scotlandville), a 2013 power forward, is the complimentary post to the powerful Julius Randle. Jones is as solid a long-term stock buy as I've seen this spring. He's not ready to be anyone's No. 1 recruit at a high-major, but he should be on everyone's radar.

Teammate Julius Randle is leading EYBL in defensive rebounds (and rebounding average overall), and that may affect Damian Jones' numbers. But Jones is 4th in the 40-team league in shots blocked at 2.6, though he's playing less than two-thirds of the available minutes.

And it's in the athletic indicators where the potential shines like the sun.

Damian Jones, Texas Titans: EYBL Averages (as of May 1)
mins
pts
fg
fga
3fg
3fga
ft
fta
oreb
dreb
rebs
fouls
asts
tos
blks
stls
19.9
8.0
3.0
5.4
0.1
0.2
1.9
2.4
1.7
2.1
3.8
2.0
0.2
0.7
2.6
0.1

Averages of 8 points and just under 4 rebounds aren't impressive, though the shots blocked pop out. But the tempo-neutral stats highlight both efficiency and an ability to use his touches athletically - drawing fouls, getting offensive boards, and of course, blocking those shots:

Damian Jones, Texas Titans: EYBL Tempo-Neutral Stats (as of May 1)
min%
fg%
efg%
2p%
3p%
ftr
ft%
or%
dr%
sh%
poss
ast%
to%
stl%
blk
ppp
62.1%
55.1%
56.1%
55.3%
50.0%
44.9%
77.3%
10.2%
9.7%
18.5%
9.6%
1.9%
11.9%
0.3%
10.8%
1.427

Damien Jones shoots well inside the arc (we don't know if he has any range or not from the box score stats, obviously). His strengths are parallel to the strengths of other raw forwards - offensive rebounding (10.2% of available offensive boards is solid on the college level) and shot blocking (blocking 10.8% of two-pointers taken is elite on the college level).

Jones is quick enough to draw fouls when he has the ball despite being a bit player on offense (taking up less than 10% of the team's possessions).

It is entirely possible he lucked into some fouls playing with Julius Randle. But there's enough here statistically to label Jones "intriguing".

And on top of his athletic markers, Jones hit 77% of his free throws. He turned the ball over less than once per game (on the AAU level, that's very good).

Coupled with a high GPA, his late development, and the glowing pub he received from the past two EYBL weekends, we at the Rumble will keep a close eye on Baton Rouge's Damien Jones. From the Zagsblog piece linked at the beginning of this post, an evaluation:

"I love him," said Bobby Sibley, editor of the Louisiana Basketball Report. "He's about 6-9. Long, athletic. Good face-up game. Very skilled around the basket. I would say he's a legit four. He's athletic, can step out to 15 feet and hit that jumper. Great hands, great footwork."

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