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Rick Barnes talks Jordan Bone’s development

Bone may be Barnes’ greatest success story.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Texas A&M John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

It was quite the week for Tennessee point guard Jordan Bone. The 6-3 junior guard had 19 and 18 points last week against Texas A&M and South Carolina, respectively. More impressively, Bone racked up 19 assists in that span, proving to be the engine that made the Tennessee offense go.

For his efforts, Bone was named SEC co-player of the week. He was also named to the Bob Cousy Award watchlist, which recognizes the top point guard in the country.

Bone’s progression this year has been really fun to follow. He’s gone from a guy who didn’t really seem to grasp the game last year, to a guy that’s in total control this year. It’s the main reason why there’s a No. 1 beside the Vols’ name right now.

On Monday, Rick Barnes praised his point guard, sharing a story of how Bone ended up at Tennessee.

“When Coach Lanier went to watch some other players play, he came back and said coach I saw this kid who I think is going to be better than all of them,” Barnes said. “He was talking about Jordan Bone.”

“Watching his growth over the last few years — I don’t think it’s any great news that I’ve probably been as hard on him as any player I’ve ever coached. To watch him now starting to connect the dots and do the things he’s doing, it’s been really neat.”

Both Bone’s scoring and assist numbers have nearly doubled from last year. He’s up to 46 percent shooting on the year, emerging as a true primary option for the Tennessee offense.

“Against Texas A&M, he was tremendous talking in the huddle,” Barnes said. “Yesterday I asked him what go into him, he just said coach I’m learning. That pretty much defines what he’s done since he’s been here. He’s always wanted to learn. He’s never been against teaching. I’m not sure he’s ever truly understood his talents the way that we see it.”

Bone has gone from a raw guard who Barnes had to beg to be aggressive, to being the aggressor this season for Tennessee. More often than not, Bone is making the right pass or taking the right shot. You couldn’t say that last season. That development, along with Bone’s athletic ability, has turned him into a legitimate NBA prospect.

He’s taken some of the offensive burden off of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield, which has made the Vols that much more dangerous this season. All of that veteran leadership should pay dividends in March.