Incoming transfer Jones set to impress at Iowa
Dale Jones isn't wasting any time making an impression.
The Iowa recruit is on a roll through his first three games this summer. Jones, an incoming Hawkeye forward, is averaging 20 points and seven rebounds per game in the Prime Time League in North Liberty.
Jones arrived in Iowa City earlier this month after three years at Tyler Community College in Tyler, Texas.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Jones averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as a redshirt sophomore this past season for Tyler. In 2012-13, he posted 9.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Jones sat out the 2013-14 campaign with a knee injury.
With the departure of Aaron White, Jones will seemingly be in the discussion for a regular role with the Hawkeyes. Jones brings size to coach Fran McCaffery's team, but also can knock down shots, as evidenced by shooting 45 percent from 3-point range at Tyler.
"I try to stay versatile and spread the floor out," Jones said Thursday. "That's why I chose Iowa; they have that same type of style. Spread the floor out and drive-and-kick type of game.
"I feel like I shoot the ball pretty well, and when I get on the block, I can do damage there too. McCaffery wanted me to come here and do that, especially with Jarrod Uthoff out on the wing and Adam Woodbury in the post, so we'll be a strong stretch team."
Originally from Waterloo, Jones transformed at Tyler — and not just on the hardwood.
Jones exited his prep career at Waterloo West standing 6-5 and weighing 200 pounds. An undersized power forward turned into a force at both forward positions.
"By going to Tyler and working with (Tyler coach) Mike Marquis, it helped me mentally and physically," Jones said. "I wasn't the biggest guy on campus anymore or on the court. Playing with guys that went on to Division<TH>I schools, it really helped me become stronger and smarter."
Sporting a large brace over his right knee this summer — that knee injury was a torn ACL — Jones is not only impressing not only fans at the PTL, but also his teammates in Iowa's practices at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. In 2012, the NCAA allowed up to eight hours of sanctioned activity per week for players and coaches in the summer months.
Iowa senior guard Mike Gesell was complimentary of Jones.
"He's a tough-nosed player," Gesell said. "He's had a couple years of college under his belt, so he knows what it's like. He's a guy that's coming in, knows his role, and will need to make an impact. He can really shoot the ball. He can rebound, get in there and bang inside. It's a tough matchup for guys."
The recruiting process amped up in the spring with several schools vying for Jones' skill set.
Ultimately, Jones picked Iowa in April and is looking forward to putting on the Black and Gold for real this fall.
"It was a pretty heavy process, but Iowa was the most consistent," Jones said. "They talked to me as soon as I got back to school last August and told me they'd follow me throughout the year, and they did that. They called me once or twice almost every week, came to the games they said they would come to.
"They kept their word and I put my trust in them."
Reach Matt Cozzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-887-5409, and follow him on Twitter at @matt_cozzi.