It is that time of year again. The end of the Final Four brings announcements of college athlete transfers.
To be honest, I was very surprised when Antwann Jones decided to transfer from the University of Memphis. Truthfully, everyone surrounding the program was as well. Yes, Jones did not get as much playing time this season, and he was not as productive as one thought he would be coming in as a four/five star recruit.
The 6-foot-6 point guard played in 35 games and averaged 4.7 points and 1.8 assists. He had to overcome the adversities of transitioning his game from the high school to the collegiate level, not to mention head coach Penny Hardaway demanded near-perfection from his athletes and accepted nothing less.
With all of this being said, Jones’ decision to leave Memphis is quite puzzling to me. Name a program in the country that is going to bring this much excitement and has the type of coaching staff that Hardaway has put together.
Granted, there are major schools in the Power 5 conferences that will have great incoming classes such as Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky, as per usual.
But do those types of schools have Jones on their radar? If not, then why would he leave Memphis, seeing as his hard work and effort into this coming offseason would have made him a major piece to the Tigers next season.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am in full support of a player doing what is in his best interest, even if that means leaving Hardaway and Memphis, but I would hate to see Jones leave for a lesser program and not being able to develop to his best potential.
Oftentimes college athletes have people in their ears telling them how great they are, how they are being held back and they should transfer, so they do just that and find themselves in worse situations then they were in originally.
Again, I am not saying that is the case with Jones, but at the same time he is giving up on the opportunity of playing with the number one player in the nation and for a coaching staff that is elite on paper.
My hope for Jones is that he continues to grow as a young man both on and off the court. The kid has a body that won’t quit and is built for the NBA, and he can make it there if he continues being a student of the game and perfecting his craft.
I hope he takes this off season seriously and continuing to build on the things he has in his tool box and of course watch film and learn from past mistakes, both personally and basketball-wise.
Mark my words, Jones will be in Chicago at the NBA Combine in the next few years, but it is just unfortunate he will not shine in a Memphis Tigers jersey.