|Posted by Brian Dickmann on January 25, 2017 at 12:40 AM|
Photo via Green Bay Athletics
A big reason for Green Bay’s 6-2 start to the Horizon League campaign has been the production the Phoenix have been receiving from their bench. A prime example was Monday’s 83-73 victory over Cleveland State in which the bench accounted for 63% of Green Bay’s offense and outscored the Vikings 52-9.
Much of the bench production has been due to Charles Cooper’s move from the starting lineup to a 6th man role, but the Phoenix have also been receiving steady contributions from senior Warren Jones of late as well.
Jones sat out all of last season after transferring to Green Bay from Bradley where he was kicked off the team in August 2015 by newly appointed head coach Brian Wardle. The dismissal followed a tumultuous year at Bradley where Jones was the team’s leading scorer at 11.9 points per game but also missed 12 games during the season – 8 due to a stress fracture in his right foot and 4 due to a suspension following an arrest for using a fake ID and underage drinking at a Peoria nightclub.
“We did our research,” Green Bay coach Linc Darner told the Green Bay Press-Gazette prior to last season. “We talked to enough people that we did our research about him and found out that he is a good kid. He has been nothing but good here for us.”
So after sitting out last season, Jones has come on of late to be a productive player for the Phoenix off the bench. He is currently 5th on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game, but has been especially good during the Horizon League season. He’s scored in double figures in four of Green Bay’s last five games.
“When he came here, we thought he would be able to shoot and stretch the floor,” Phoenix assistant coach Richard Davis told WNFL after the win over Cleveland State on Monday. Jones scored 15 points and added 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal in 27 minutes of action.
“I think this year it took him a little time,” Davis said. “He wasn’t where we wanted him to be at that time but he just kept working, working, working and then one game it kind of clicked for him and he’s been going ever since.”
Jones has provided a much needed deep threat for Green Bay this season, connecting on 41.3% from beyond the arc. In fact, he has made at least two 3-pointers in 5 of the last 6 games, including an impressive 5 for 6 outing in the Phoenix 78-61 victory over Wright State on January 12th. He made just 29.6% of his three point attempts during his one season at Bradley.
The senior from Centralia, Illinois has also provided a spark at the defensive end of the floor. Despite playing only 17.9 minutes per game in 17 appearances, Jones ranks in the top ten in the conference in total steals (9th, 23) and steals per game (7th, 1.4).
With Green Bay a game behind Valparaiso for first place in the Horizon League, the Phoenix will need to keep getting contributions from Warren Jones and the rest of the bench if they hope to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament again this March.
“He plays hard, he just keeps going and he works at it defensively,” Davis said. “He’s the player we wanted him to be when we brought him in last year.”
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