On Tuesday Night the University of Louisville sent out a press alert that reads as follows:
“University of Louisville guard Chris Jones has been suspended from the men’s basketball team for a violation of team rules. Jones will not travel with the team for the Cardinals’ 7 p.m. game at Syracuse on Wednesday. He is averaging 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and at team-leading 3.7 assists for Louisville (20-5, 8-4 ACC).”
With the news that Chris Jones will not travel with the team to Syracuse, the offensively challenged Cards will be without its 3rd leading scorer, offensive catalyst…..and Point Guard………SENIOR POINT GUARD.
It is the 3rd time this season that Coach Pitino has publicly benched Jones. The 1st came vs. Long Beach State after the Kentucky game when Jones demonstratively overplayed a flop, played frustrated and negatively affected his team. The 2nd came during a 2nd half run two games ago vs. Pittsburgh at the KFC Yum! Center. And now, coming off a nice effort in a losing performance vs. NC State. Chris Jones vs. the Wolfpack was one of two (the other being Wayne Blackshear) who didn’t quit.
Chris Jones is a highly competitively, engaging young man. But he is also volatile emotionally and displays selfish behaviors. This is nothing new to the Louisville fanbase, but the world has also seen what a re-focused Jones can do on the basketball court. Jones can make a shot from anywhere on the floor, but the offense is WAAAAYYYY better when Jones uses his ability to get into space to create passes to his teammates and getting shots later. Perfect for a game like, say……. Syracuse.
In his replacement, the Cards will have to turn to freshman Quentin Snider and off the bench likely Anton Gill, David Levitch, or perhaps more Shaqquan Aaron with Terry Rozier moving to point guard in spells. Pitino routinely says that Q (as Quentin is affectionately called) is offensively ready but still has work to do defensively. Coming off a loss to NC State, the Cards MUST get more of the Snider that pushed the Cards forward in the 2nd half vs. Pitt.
This is a huge spot for Quentin Snider, but make no mistake this is also a huge problem for Chris Jones. Jones now has anywhere from 7-15 games remaining in his collegiate career. Does Jones want the NBA Scout book on him to be ‘small point guard, great defensively, with selfish tendencies, and a volatile attitude”? Or would he prefer, “Transformed powder keg, with incredible offensive & defensive explosion, with a team first mentality, and an incredible will to win”?
Chris Jones is a well-intended student-athlete and is very likable in post-game press situations. It’s time for Chris Jones to channel all of that energy in a positive direction and become the senior leader that he strives to become and the realize his potential. Whatever Chris did to get suspended, that’s a symptom of someone who either is far too emotional for his own good, or someone who has yet to master accountability……..in either case that is Louisville’s Senior Point Guard at maybe one of the most critical forks in the road of his either young career…or the end.
It’s his decision.