INDIANAPOLIS – At one point in his post-game news conference following his team's 88-86 overtime win against Indiana on Saturday, Butler men's basketball coach Brad Stevens stated “I don't think too much about rankings.”
He was speaking about the national polls, which had the Hoosiers as the best in the country, while his team wasn't ranked at all. However, the same assessment could be applied to the individual recruiting rankings as well.
In searching one of the predominant recruiting services, Indiana utilized seven players in Saturday's defeat that were regarded higher than Butler forward Roosevelt Jones (130th-rated player), including five that were considered among the 45 best players in the country. But on Saturday, Stevens – and most certainly the 19,192 fans in attendance – didn't see it that way.
“With all due respect to everybody else on the court,” Stevens said, “I thought he was the best player on the floor.”
Jones exhibited a stunning versatility, particularly at the defensive end of the floor. On one possession he would be asked to guard Indiana guard Jordan Hulls (6-foot) and on the next he'd have to switch onto Hoosier All-American center Cody Zeller (7-foot).
“When that ball went up to the rim, (Jones) found ways to get it,” Stevens said.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore wasn't just asked to play great at the defensive end; Stevens also wanted his impact made offensively. And the coach got his way.
Jones scored 16 points, pulled down a dozen rebounds and dished out seven assists. Oh, he also found time to block a pair of shots.
“What did he not do,” Stevens asked. “Shoot three-pointers? That was it.”
No, Jones didn't shoot a three-pointer, but the stats – and even many non-statistical categories such as hustle, toughness and sheer will – show that he did indeed do everything else.
“He's really unique and he's really good,” Stevens said. “The thing that I like best about him is that he competes. He loves to compete.”
Where does that get figured into the recruiting rankings?
Jones agrees with his coach's evaluation that he is “unique.” He isn't a shooter at all, but he plays on the perimeter a lot. He's built like an NFL linebacker, yet he can play the point guard position. His versatility extends to both offense and defense.
Some Butler fans have compared him to former Bulldog forward Willie Veasley, but Jones doesn't think that is accurate either.
“I don't really compare myself to anybody,” Jones said. “I just think that I'm my own unique player.”