Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jones adjusts to outside spot

Published: Jan. 10, 2012 Updated: 10:54 p.m.     

UCLA guard Lazeric Jones scored a career-high 26 points in the Bruins' Pac-12 opening 60-59 loss at Stanford on Dec. 29, but it was a shot that Jones that didn't get off that stuck with him and UCLA coach Ben Howland.

While Jones beat himself up about taking an ill-advised and ultimately rejected jumper from the top of the key in the face of a double-team, the play illustrated to Howland UCLA's over-dependence on Jones on the offensive end.

"We were asking Zeke to do too much," Howland said referring to Jones by his nickname.

To lighten Jones' load and make the Bruins more efficient with the ball, Howland has moved Jones to the wing, rotating Jerime Anderson (Canyon High) to the point. The move, Howland believes, will help Jones find more open shots while still making use of his playmaking.

"With his point guard skills, he's still going to create a lot of offensive opportunities (for teammates)," Howland said.

Jones, a point guard his whole career, had had a hard time getting his head around the change.

"I'm just trying to feel my way at the wing," Jones said. "I've never played on the wing in my life."

Howland is amused by Jones' concern.

"I don't think Zeke has any problem taking shots," Howland said.

Victories against Arizona and Arizona State last weekend, however, indicate Jones is making the transition just fine.

Anderson turned in a solid performance on both ends in the Bruins' 75-58 triumph against ASU on Saturday night, finishing with seven points, four assists (and no turnovers) and four steals.

Jones had a rough night shooting, going 3 for 10 from the field, 1 for 5 from behind the 3-point arc, but still played a leading role in the offense, contributing a season-high 10 assists with one turnover.

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