Ambitious Antwann Jones geared up to assault Memphis basketball offseason
Antwan Jones held up his left arm to reveal the eight-letter word tattooed throughout his forearm. “Ambition,” it read in cursive lettering. After the Memphis basketball group
misplaced its 2nd-round NIT sport to Creighton on Friday, that tattoo could serve as a reminder for why he made it to Memphis within the first place and what he wishes to do as he enters the offseason earlier than his sophomore 12 months. “It doesn’t sense actual proper now,” Jones stated while nonetheless seated at his locker after the game. “But with me being actual ambitious – I have it tatted on me – I know it’s all approximately going harder now.”
Like nearly any freshman, Jones’ first season with the Tigers turned into filled with peaks and valleys. Jones started the year in a limited function but showcased what he can do with a strong overall performance towards Tennessee that kick-commenced a ten-game stretch throughout which he played as a minimum 18 mins per contest. From there, the freshman protects minutes took a dip while he battled plantar fasciitis, a heel injury. But he returned to his vintage self in overdue February via the stop of the season. He averaged 7.7 points and 2.3 assists in games in which he performed extra than 20 minutes. “My future is high-quality bright,” Jones said. “Because I’m now not going to do whatever however get better.”
The Memphis training workforce agreed. Jones led the Tigers numerous instances this season with his courtroom imaginative and prescient and scoring potential. At 6-foot-6, the protect also appears as though he can turn out to be one of the crew’s quality perimeter defenders as well. In reality, Memphis instruct Penny Hardaway said in February that Jones became going to be an essential part of the Tigers’ fulfillment the rest of the season. “Look, the NIT changed into something,” Jones said. “We have been satisfied to be in it. However, we all need to go to the NCAA Tournament.” So now it is “wait til subsequent yr” for Hardaway’s bunch, and which means there is not anything Jones can do but retain to rely upon that ambition as he waits. “I’ll be within the gym every day,” Jones stated Friday. “I’ll be in there tomorrow. I’m going to hit the waiting room, get treatment, put up 1,000 pictures, then work on ball-dealing with. Then after that, I’m going to copy it.” With Memphis nonetheless hot on the recruiting path – something Hardaway pointed out right away after the NIT loss – questions have risen about whether or not the Tigers have scholarships available for potential signees at the roster next season.
Five players from this season’s team will graduate, and four recruits have already got signed for next yr. Also, Hardaway stated formerly that redshirt freshman Ryan Boyce could be put on scholarship before the beginning of his sophomore season. That means a few gamers doubtlessly may want to transfer to make space, but Jones made it clear Friday that his eyes are still set on Memphis. “I haven’t any plans of leaving,” Jones said. “I love the city of Memphis. I love my basketball crew. I love the education personnel. I love my teammates. I wouldn’t alternatively be everywhere else in the international however here.”