Tennessee’s offense has flourished this season, and that’s in large part due to the improved play of point guard Jordan Bone. The junior guard is having a career year in his third season with the Vols, and one of the more prominent names in the college basketball world has taken notice.
Jerry Meyer is the Director of Basketball Scouting for 247Sports, and he’s a former player himself. He knows what to look for in players to determine if they can succeed at the collegiate and pro level. During Tennessee’s game against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Meyer was impressed with what Bone was doing in the first half against the Commodores and said the junior point guard is the “best NBA prospect” on Tennessee’s current roster.
Jordan Bone is such a first round pick. Best NBA prospect on the Vols.
— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) January 24, 2019
That may come as a surprise when you consider the Vols have reigning SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams and First Team All-SEC forward Admiral Schofield on the roster. Meyer stated in a later tweet that he believes Tennessee has six future NBA prospects on the roster, and Bone is “the best of the bunch.”
I made the case earlier this week that Bone is Tennessee’s true MVP on this team. And Meyer’s assertions back up that claim, as do Bone’s improved numbers and play this season.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard has shown massive improvement to his play so far this year. In 18 games this year, Bone is averaging career-highs in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and minutes per game.
Bone is averaging 13.3 points, 6.4 assists, and 2.6 rebounds all while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and 83.3 percent from the free throw line.
Not only are Bone’s numbers up across the board, but he’s doing the one thing that point guards are supposed to do: Take care of the basketball.
The junior guard has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.96 this season. That means Bone is averaging just one turnover for nearly every four assists he dishes out. Those numbers are even better in SEC play, too. Bone has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 6.17 in six SEC games this season. He’s turned the ball over just six times in six conference games this season while dishing out 37 assists. No other player in the SEC has a better assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play.
In fact, only Duke’s Tre Jones has a better assist/turnover ratio in all of Division I college basketball this season. Jones has an assist/turnover ratio of 5.69. Arkansas point guard Jalen Harris is right behind Bone with a 3.87 assist/turnover ratio.
Right now, Bone’s ratio would easily be the best in Tennessee history. Jon Higgins set the record back in the 2002-03 season when he had an assist/turnover ratio of 2.821 during the season. Bone actually finished only a few percentage points shy of breaking that record last season when he finished with a 2.818 assist-to-turnover ratio in the 2017-18 season. Bone’s current 2.9 assist/turnover ratio in his Tennessee career would be the best career ratio in UT history.
Bone’s 6.4 assist per game average currently sits as the fourth-best average in a single season in UT history. His 305 career assists are 14th all-time in program history.
But Bone’s stats aren’t the only reason he’s considered a top-tier NBA prospect.
The junior guard has improved his floor presence, his shooting touch, and his toughness in the paint. He’s taking more shots, and he’s taking smarter shots when he does attempt a field goal. Bone is averaging over four more field goal attempts per game this season compared to his sophomore year, and he’s more aggressive with those shots too. He’s attempting twice as many free throws per game this year as he was last season.
Not only that, but Bone’s speed is enough to make NBA scouts pay attention. He can zip up and down the court faster than anyone on UT’s roster, and he uses that quickness to penetrate into the paint often.
The NBA Draft is still a ways off for Bone, especially assuming he sticks around for his senior season next year. But Jerry Meyer believes when it’s all said and done, he’ll be the best NBA prospect of Tennessee’s current roster.