BOZICH | Chris Jones tunes out Twitter, tunes in more efficient - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Chris Jones tunes out Twitter, tunes in more efficient play for Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The latest story that Chris Jones is not supposed to read was written by Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated.

In a world of 140-character analysis, Winn essentially said this:

He ranks Louisville No. 4 nationally even though Jones takes too many awful shots (smiley face excluded in this link).

Specifically, Winn said the Cards needed an “intervention” to ensure that Jones shot less so Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear had more opportunities to show how efficient they were with the basketball.

This was the second time Jones was the center of attention this week because Louisville coach Rick Pitino's 140-character analysis of the improvements that Jones needed to make went this way on Thursday:

Put your phone in a drawer. Leave it there for two weeks. Or preferably until April. (LOL excluded.)

“I can handle it, but he's the boss man though,” Jones said. “I think he's right in certain ways.”

So on a night when Anton Gill scored a career-high 15 points and David Levitch took Terry Rozier's starting spot because Rozier was disciplined for skipping a class, I'll start the discussion of the Cardinals' 82-57 victory over Florida International Friday night at the KFC Yum! Center with Jones.

Jones said that he did not believe he needed to hand his phone to an assistant coach, but he performed as if he was getting the message.

Jones took six shots. That was a season low, only the second time in seven games his field goal attempts have been in single digits. Only one of the shots appeared to be forced. He made half of those attempts – and got to the foul line four times, finishing with 11 points in 27 minutes.


“A lot better,” Jones said. “I think it started with my defense again. When my defense got going, so did my shot. When my shot got going, I felt really good when the first one went in.”

What about Pitino's comment? Too much social media? Tortured by Twitter? Irritated by Instagram?

“I think I do need to stop listening to a lot of stuff,” he said. “That's what I did. Block everything out and just play.”

“Chris is one of those guys constantly on his phone,” Blackshear said. “But it's not a problem. Chris is a hard-working dude."

Jones did not say it directly, but it sounded as if his social media accounts have been enriched with comments from sideline coaches discussing how many shots Jones has taken and how many he has failed to make. There was the 5 for 18 performance against Marshall and the 3 for 15 night against Ohio State. Nights like that will wake up the coach in everybody.

That, of course, was the point of Winn's analysis at Sports Illustrated. Winn calculated that Jones had been using 27 percent of Louisville's offensive possessions while making less than 29 percent of his shots.

That is not a Final Four formula.

Actually, Winn said that 17 of the 18 teams that had players with similar numbers last season failed to make the NCAA Tournament.

That is not going to happen to Louisville. I can safely forecast that the Cards are not a bubble team. But Jones does need to drive his shooting percentage safely above 40 percent and play as if Twitter was never invented.

Jones understands that.

“You just can't ignore it when it comes to your phone,” Jones said. “So I just get off my Twitter.

“Social media is social media. You either believe in it or get away from it. And I got away from it. Tonight showed that I got away from it.

“You know me, I'm strong. I don't really care what nobody says. As long as coach says keep shooting, I'm going to keep shooting anyway.”

Pitino, of course, wants more. He always wants more. What the coach did not like about Louisville's performance Friday night were the 20 turnovers. (Jones had three with three assists).

That was a season high for a team that averaged 13.3 turnovers through its first six games. Pitino wants improvement when the Cardinals meet Indiana in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.

“The thing that is missing from this basketball team and why they can't go from good to very good is turnovers,” Pitino said. “This team is nowhere near the last three years because of their turnovers.”

I'm certain the Twitter analysts already have that resolved – in 140 characters or less.


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