Newest San Antonio Spurs addition Tre Jones is getting the chance to go from one coaching legend to another, and his good fortune is not lost on him.
Most guys never get the chance to play for one of the greatest basketball coaches in the history of the game. Soon, Tre Jones will be playing for his second. After spending two years under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, Jones will be playing for Gregg Popovich as a member of the San Antonio Spurs this season.
The 20-year-old guard built quite a resume in his two years, making the ACC All-Defense Team twice while winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and ACC Player of the Year in his sophomore season. Still, concerns about his size and outside shot saw him slip to 41st overall, a situation in which the Spurs took full advantage.
Jones now gets the chance to prove he belongs in the NBA under the game’s best coach. Last Tuesday, in a media availability session, Jones talked about the similarities between his former coach and his new one.
“They’re pretty close and kind of have the same background with the military style,” said Jones. I see a lot of similarities so far, and I really like that.”
Jones expanded further on how fortunate he feels going from Coach K to Coach Pop on an episode of The Role Player Podcast, hosted by Trevor Mbakwe and Jordan Taylor.
“Being able to be handed off to another all-time great in Coach Pop. I know how lucky I am and the position I’m in to be able to play for those two. It’s something a lot of hoop heads really dream of,” said Jones. “I’m going to do everything I can to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Why Coach Popovich is perfect for Tre Jones
Not only have Coach Krzyzewski and Coach Popovich been close for years, but they also have similarly high expectations in their players both on and off the court. As a result, both coaches are now widely regarded as two of the best all-time in their field.
Upon Tre’s announcement of declaring for the NBA Draft, Coach K only had the best things to say about his Duke point guard. “He’s been the heart and soul of our program over the last two seasons, and it’s been a joy for me to watch him develop as a player and leader,” said Krzyzewski in an official statement.
In November, Krzyzewski also called Jones “the best point guard in the draft,” stating his leadership and defense as qualities that set him apart from the rest. While it’s expected for a head coach to vouch for his starting point guard, high praise from such a legendary coach is still nothing to dismiss.
While the Spurs are loaded at the point guard position at present, having a young, eager-to-learn guard waiting in the wings can only pay off for San Antonio down the road. Much like the other newest Spur, Devin Vassell, I fully expect Jones to soak up all the knowledge he can until his number is eventually called.