Louisville Head Coach Chris Mack has been pining the grad transfer market for players and he finally hit gold. The number 1 grad transfer on the market, former Radford G Carlik Jones, announced his commitment to Louisville last night.
Jones chose the Cards over Michigan State, Gonzaga, Maryland, Marquette, Texas Tech, and West Virginia, among others. The 6’1 180 lbs PG is originally from Cincinnati, OH.
Last season for Radford, Jones averaged 20 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. He was able to be a great scorer while also being able to run the offense at the point.
New Louisville transfer Carlik Jones attacking the big downhill versus passive ball screen coverage pic.twitter.com/a8luLv2cFh— Jordan Sperber (@hoopvision68) April 6, 2020
Some clips of Jones versus aggressive ball screen coverage pic.twitter.com/pLQLDAy0x0— Jordan Sperber (@hoopvision68) April 6, 2020
Jones is a quick, smart, decisive PG. From the highlights above, he works really well in a ball screen offense. He makes all the right decisions. If the defense isn’t aggressive on the hedge, he takes it to the hole. Jones can then finish with ease around the basket.
If they aggressively hedge, Jones knows how to keep his dribble alive. He doesn’t panic when the hedge is hard. Instead, he keeps that dribble and as the defense is resetting he either looks to attack off the dribble, take an open 3, or find the open man.
Jones is an excellent long range shooter, hitting 40.9% of his shots from 3-point range last season. This shooting ability should make the defense have to stay closer to him on the perimeter and allow him to use his quickness to beat defenders off the dribble.
His court vision is excellent and he has the passing ability to match. He sees guys open that most others may not see and is able to make accurate passes. There’s one play in his highlights where he comes dribbling into the lane after a hard hedge by the defense. The defense squeezes the lane and it leaves a teammate open in the corner for a 3 and he finds him. Another play, he sees a teammate open on the opposite wing and delivers a pass very similar to ones we saw David Johnson make numerous times last year.
I wasn’t able to see much film defensively, but my understanding is he plays the kind of defense Chris Mack wants. He stays in front of his man and makes the other team take tough shots. What you have to love, though, is that he not only plays the defense, but he rebounds. He averaged 5.1 rebounds per game as a PG last season. Coach Mack wants a team rebounding mentality which means he wants all 5 players on the floor to rebound defensively. Jones fits into this philosophy perfectly.
Jones is by far the best grad transfer Coach Mack has landed at Louisville. He’s a tough, quick, smart guard that can run the point or even play some off the ball. He’s an excellent rebounder, distributor, and scorer. I expect he will be starting in the backcourt next to David Johnson. This will give Louisville a proven scorer to pair with a pass first David Johnson. However, his basketball IQ will allow him to make the extra pass when it’s called for. Excellent pickup by Coach Mack.
*stats courtesy of radfordathletics.com