There weren’t too many things that plagued the Tennessee Volunteers on the basketball court last season. You could certainly argue that one area where the Vols were lacking some consistency was at the point guard spot, however.
Jordan Bone held down the position and offered some tantalizing flashes of talent, but the sophomore guard never really strung anything together. For the Vols to take another step forward on the offensive end, Bone is going to have to find that elusive consistency.
“There’s another step to take (for Bone),” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said in Nashville on Thursday. “I think he’s matured. He came in—as most guys do—without understanding how demanding and difficult it is. But he had without question the best spring that he’s had. He’s working right now, I know he’s home here (in Nashville).”
Bone is no stranger to Barnes publicly pushing him. Barnes knows there’s more to him, just as we’ve seen in spurts.
“He’s had some games where you’re like, wow, he’s starting to get it,” Barnes said. “The key is now, can he do it night in and night out? Some of it is mental and some of it is maturity. Some of it is blocking out the outside noise. But that’s where, now that he’s a junior, you expect him to be able to be totally focused on what he has to do to lead a team.”
Bone’s 19 point outburst and 8-11 shooting against Arkansas in the SEC Tournament stands out. Just one night before that, Bone scored five points on 2-7 shooting in 25 minutes played. If you need more evidence, just check out the game log from last season.
“We talk a lot about him (getting to the rim), because he’s such a good free throw shooter,” Barnes said. “He’s got his quickness and speed. One thing that he’s tried to work on this offseason is creating contact and playing through contact.”
Barnes — and all of Tennessee fans — are ready to see a consistently aggressive Jordan Bone. Adding that to an offense that already features SEC player of the year Grant Williams and (more than likely) an emerging NBA talent in Admiral Schofield would be nearly impossible to stop.
“One thing I know about him is that he wants to be great,” Barnes said. “He knows the time he’s got to put into it and he’s willing to do that.”