Colby Jones, the Dominic Toretto of College Basketball.
Garbage Time Ghim is back with another feature and this time he is breaking down the alluring game of Xavier's Colby Jones.
Recently, Corey Tulaba and I had just finished recording another episode of the DraftDaq NBA Podcast (shameless plug), and we were talking about some guys that we liked. I had mentioned to him that I liked Colby Jones. Corey responded, “yeah, man, he’s good. He’s really, really good.”
The more I thought about who I wanted to write about next, the more I wanted to stay true to myself and continue to write about guys I enjoy watching. The more I watched Colby Jones, the more I said to myself, “I like that guy.” So I wanted to dive into why I like him so much. Before I started my deep dive into him, I liked how he looked on the court and carried himself, and it felt like he was always in the right places. That was more than enough for me to fall in love, but I understand you need more than that. You need evidence, compelling arguments, and me to give you thousands of words. I get it.
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Jones is a 6’6” guard/wing for the Xavier Musketeers and is currently averaging 15.3 PTS, 5.3 REB, 4.6 AST, and 1.4 STL per game. SOLID numbers.
The thing that dawned on me while thinking about what angle I wanted to take for the piece, I realized he’s just one of those guys. He has a magnetism where almost anyone watching his game cannot help but like what they’re seeing. He’s like someone you meet at a party, and even though you only had a 90-second conversation with them, when they walk away, you catch yourself saying, “I like that person.” You don’t exactly know why you like them at the moment, but they leave such a strong impression that you can’t help but acknowledge that you thought they were excellent. When I started to think about the likable quality of Jones’s game, it reminded me so much of the quiet charisma of Dominic Toretto of the Fast and the Furious universe. Toretto also has a magnet-like quality to his character that draws people to him. Let’s jump into where I saw some similarities between the two, and always remember, kids; life doesn’t always have to be so damn serious.
With the Fast and the Furious franchise finally racing towards its end, it looks like they’re going all in and bringing even more star power into their universe with the edition of Jason Momoa. If you didn’t already love the franchise, I think it’ll be impossible for you to deny the star power of the franchise now with the addition of the man who played Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones and Aquaman. Now I know some of you are reading this and rapidly losing respect for me, but hear me out. What is there not to like about the Fast and the Furious franchise? I’m not claiming that they deserve to be fighting for Academy Awards every time they drop another film. The movies are jam-packed with action, the characters have great chemistry with each other, they’re incredibly fun to watch, and they drive really cool cars. I’d never claim that the writing is incredible or that the character development over the years made any sense. I like them because they’re fun, and if I was alone on this island, why the hell did they make ten of these things?
Now that you’re in total agreement with me let’s talk about the lynchpin of the franchise, the one and only Dom Torettto.
Dom is the embodiment of cool. The man refuses to smile; he’s ridiculously tough, drives a sick 1970 Dodge Charger, and can fight anyone in the world. Over the years, he’s fought Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, John Cena, and Johnny Tran, to name a few. Not only is Dom tough, but the man also loves his family and is willing to do anything for the people he loves. Oddly enough, one of the funniest things about the franchise is that so many of his enemies along the way end up becoming his allies and follow him all over the world to join him on his wild adventures. As I said before, there’s just a magnetism to him that’s hard to explain. If you go back and watch the first movie, watch the scene where Brain (Paul Walker, Rest in Peace) meets Dom for the first time. He’s there to get some recon and flirt with Mia, but the way that he looks at Dom and makes deep eye contact with him was wild. It’s almost as if Dom put him in a trance and brainwashed him into following him forever.
Similarly, Colby Jones seems to be having the same effect on the draft world, where everyone on Draft Twitter is coming out of the woods to shower the man with praise and adoration. I’m not here to claim that I was in on him first or that I have the most stock in his game. I’m just here to celebrate the fact that this dude seems to have an unquantifiable quality about him that makes people fall in love with his game. Dom is so lovable that he could turn his enemies into friends and family; Colby Jones has the same power to turn you into a fan after reading this piece on him.
Let’s go, mi familia.
Dom Toretto can handle his business.
Colby Jones can also handle his business.
As mentioned earlier, Dom has had legendary fights throughout the Fast and the Furious franchise. The one that was most memorable to me and happened in what I believe was the best movie of the entire series was when he fought Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in Fast Five. These two legends smashed each other through three walls and three windows and smashed each other's heads into metal cabinets, tables, and walls. The fight choreography for this scene was pretty awesome, and I don’t know if you noticed, but the fight was pretty fair. From what I understand, that was intentional because the two guys did not get along off-screen, and Johnson wanted the fight to be portrayed as if Dom barely won.
This fight is incredible because, within the context of the film, Dom is going one-on-one with a legendary federal agent specializing in catching bad guys. Hobbs was trained to hunt down and arrest guys like Dom, but somehow Dom has the strength and ability to fight him off and win the fight. Movies are the best.
Unlike the fictional strength and fighting ability of Dom Toretto, Colby Jones is an incredibly competent offensive player with a ton of layers to his game.
Heading into the season, Colby Jones wasn’t a guy that was super high on my radar. Once again, I’m not here to lie to you and claim that I’ve been a day one guy with him. Over the season, he’s popped up more and more, and I couldn’t help but notice him as I watched many Big East games. As we get into his game, I wanted to talk about all the fun things he does on the offensive side of the ball. Colby Jones is a highly versatile offensive player, and not only is he versatile, but he’s selfless as well. When you comb through his game, you’ll start to notice an overarching theme to his game that, in my opinion, makes him a special prospect.
Yes, he’s shooting the ball a lot better this season. His current shooting splits are 52.6/40.2/68.8. Those numbers may not knock you out of your chair, but they’re pretty damn good, and the three-point shooting percentage is impressive because it’s the most he’s ever taken in a season during his three-year career. Shooting 40.2% on 102 attempts is pretty good and deserving of some praise. But once again, the main focus of his offensive game is not in the shooting numbers, but in the overall selfless spirit that he plays with.
When you watch Jones on the offensive side of the court, you rarely feel like he’s forcing anything. It always feels like he’s taking his shots within the flow and the team's game plan. He’s not afraid to shoot, nor is he over-eager. Because he’s generally putting up shots within the flow of the offense, it makes sense that his overall numbers have improved this season. According to Bartorvik, Jones is currently shooting 63.3% at the rim, 50% on all other two-point attempts, and 40.2% on threes, with 85.4% being assisted. If you watch the compilation video I made above, you’ll see a wide range of shots Jones has hit this season.
The first thing I want to say about his shooting is that I think the form looks good. I think the form looks pretty smooth, and I like that he’s usually balanced when putting up a shot from deep. I also like that he’s slightly coming forward as well, I’m not a shot doctor, but I know that’s a thing. My only critique was that I think the ball can be a little too in front of his face sometimes, and I think he needs to continue to add strength in his lower half. Many of his misses seem to come when he’s not engaging his lower half as much.
Regarding his two-point field goals, the guy likes to go all the way to the rim for a crafty finish or a floater. He doesn’t pull up in the mid-range much, which I’d like to see more of, but it isn’t a significant issue for me. Currently, he likes to go to his floater or a baby hook rather than just pull up for a mid-range jumper. That’s something that I think he can work on and add to his game later. He’s shown some flashes, but he prefers the floater for now. History continues to teach us that growth and development are not linear and do not look the same for all players. In terms of his finishing at the rim, though, I like the touch that he has.
He doesn’t go to it a ton, but I think he has a pretty strong left hand, and when he does tap into it, it looks pretty good. I’m also a fan of the pace that he plays with. He has a good handle and knows how to mix up speeds to get to his spots. He’s not the twitchiest athlete ever but has good bursts of speed and more than enough to turn the corner against defenders. Ultimately I think the pace that he plays with and the versatility of his offensive game will be more than enough for him to get up his shot against NBA defenders. His floater is a real weapon to help him on the next level because he’s not an elite athlete. Jones is not afraid of contact, but I wish he’d take it stronger all the way to the rim a little bit more to draw more fouls. He's averaging 3.6 attempts per game, but I’d love to see that number go up.
Dom Toretto likes to get his family involved.
Colby Jones also likes to get his family involved.
Another reason to love Dom Toretto is his desire always to keep his family involved and together. Whether it’s his weekly Sunday grill sessions and dinner, bank heists in Brazil, or intense street races, Dom likes doing things together.
Another incredible scene from Fast Five is when Dom confronts Agent Hobbs in the streets of Brazil with a giant crowd of locals. This is the famous scene where he says, “THIS IS BRAZIL,” and a bunch of dudes with crappy handguns have his back. I especially love these faceoff scenes because Dwayne Johnson is always sweating profusely when all he did was walk over from his truck. I also probably shouldn’t be judging The Rock’s cardio; wake up, Albert.
Wherever Dom goes, the man can draw a crowd; not only does he draw a crowd of spectators, but these people genuinely love and adore him. But he doesn’t just use and abuse the people who love him; Dom always wants to spread the love and keep his people close. The best closing montage in the whole series is again at the end of Fast Five, where his whole crew ends up walking away with millions of dollars, and you get to see Dom's selfless and inclusive heart. He’s a guy who loves including his people and making sure everyone eats. The song, “Danza Kuduro” in the clip below is also one of the best songs ever. I dare you to turn that on in your car and not freak out.
Speaking of dangerously good times, turn on some tape of Colby Jones passing the ball, and you’ll really feel something. Jones is not the flashiest passer in the country, no one will mistake him for Milos Teodocic, but the guy is a rock-solid passer of the ball. He, like Dom, is a very inclusive player, as we talked about before. He makes good reads, and good passes, that are within the flow.
I know that entry passes into the post generally don’t end up on House of Highlights, but it’s a vital skill to have. Watch the compilation I posted above; you’ll notice that most passes look pretty standard. Just because the passes look mundane doesn’t necessarily mean they are. A ton of fine detail in Jones’ passing deserves a ton of credit. Considering the fact that Jones may end up getting drafted by a team with a dominant big like Embiid, Jokic, Giannis, or Alperen Sengun (kidding?), it’s essential that Jones has the entry pass in his bag. Jones does a great job of getting his bigs the ball in good spots and shows great accuracy and touch. He’s one of those guys that can get the ball right into the hands of his teammates, just the way that they like it.
Just ask Jack Nunge how good of an entry passer Jones is; Jones has been spoon-feeding him easy dimes all season long. Jones averages 4.6 assists per game, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Jones is also a highly effective ball mover that rarely lets the ball stick to his hands for too long. You can understand why his teammates love him. The guy is always looking to move himself and the ball. When you watch him swing the ball around the perimeter to some of the better shooters on the squad, like Souley Boum and Adam Kunkel, he does a great job of getting them the ball on time and right where they want it.
Watch this Youtube short below where Jason Williams talks about the importance of a pass's accuracy and getting the ball's seams just right so that shooters can go straight up and not have to adjust the ball. That’s something I think Jones does consistently, and you can see how quickly his teammates get up shots when he passes them the ball.
Dom Toretto can protect his family.
Colby Jones can also protect his family.
Look, these Fast and the Furious movies aren’t super complicated. Like most things in our lives now, there seems to be an algorithm behind all of them. Ultimately, Dom is a man who loves his family, does everything with his family, and has to go and fight whoever it is that’s threatening his family's safety. That’s essentially the equation behind all of the movies in the franchise. In the scene above, you see Dom saving his younger brother even though his younger brother spent the majority of the movie trying to kill him. For Dom, the old saying still remains true; blood is thicker than water. BOOM.
As ridiculous as all of this has been, Colby Jones is a serious defender. The man takes defending very seriously, and that’s the part of his game that I may have enjoyed the most. Jones is a dynamic player because of his versatility on both ends of the floor. Jones is not currently a lockdown defender, but he’s a guy that processes the game at a high level and, I believe, will eventually grow into a very strong defender.
Due to his lack of elite foot speed, Jones tries his best to beat his man to the spot by reading where his opponent wants to go and leveraging his upper body strength to divert his man off their path. Due to the lack of elite foot speed, he can sometimes struggle against quicker guards. Don’t let that get you down on his defense; watching him defend the pick and roll was encouraging for me. I liked how he navigated screens and how hard he fought to get back to his man to contest shots. He’s also an exceptional off-ball defender who sees the floor incredibly well and knows where to be. Don’t sleep on this; knowing where to be is such a slept-on skill and never shows up on the stat sheet. He also does a great job of closing out to shooters and can fight for rebounds because he’s good at boxing out and reading the ball off the rim.
When I think about the profile of a player that I think Jones can become on the next level, my mind doesn’t necessarily go to a star number one option. However, I think he could become a star role-player. These guys wouldn’t be a one-for-one comparison, but I wonder if he could become an Alex Caruso, Josh Hart, Derrick White, or Malcolm Brogdon type of player. All those guys are extremely valuable players that offer a ton to their respective teams without having to be the number one or even number two options on their teams.
Just look at a guy like Derrick White. White has had an incredible season for the Boston Celtics and is a valuable part of their success. Look at how well the Knicks have played since Josh Hart came over from Portland. He’s playing huge minutes off the bench and offers so much with his defense, rebounding, and play in transition. I think Brogdon might be my favorite comp, though. I think Jones will be that type of cerebral player that won’t ever wow you with his athletic gifts but will seemingly always make the right plays. Jones will have to work hard to become the shooter that Brogdon is, but it’s not impossible. Brogdon is currently averaging 14.8 PTS, 4.1 REB, and 3.7 AST per game, and I think there’s a real possibility that Jones could average a similar stat line one day.
Colby Jones is going to be good; pretty simple statement, but packed with truth. I believe Jones has many of the tools that NBA teams are looking for. He will be a guy you can rely on to fit in with almost any team on both ends of the floor. Selflessness and playing within yourself are excellent tools to have. Teams don’t need 5-star players; all great teams have rock-solid role guys who can plug holes for them. My goal in writing this piece was to get you to look at his game and go, “I like that guy.” I’m pretty sure I accomplished that. Some of you may even be thinking:
I decided to add this section to my pieces moving forward. As much as I love College basketball and the NBA Draft, I have so many other interests in my life and would love to share all that with you guys.
Succession Season Four: I’m pretty devastated that they announced that season four would be the final season of the series. I genuinely believe that Succession is the best show I’ve watched on television since The Wire. I think this show's acting and writing have been ridiculously good and consistent. The Roy siblings got wrecked at the end of season 3, and I can’t wait to see how they wrap things up. Tom Wambsgans is the best character on the show, I don’t care what you say.
Arsenal Football Club. Special shoutout to the best football team in England. Coming back to beat Bournemouth in the 98th minute last weekend was just ridiculous. The resilience this team has shown this season has been ridiculous. With Gabriel Jesus getting closer and closer to making his return, we can’t help but start dreaming about that Premier League trophy. Considering how hard it’s been to be a fan of this club in recent years, this feels so damn good. #COYG
I just bought another bottle of cologne from Le Labo, specifically the “Bergamote 22” fragrance. I share this with yall because it smells incredible. I also have the “The Matcha 26” and “Santal 33” fragrances. All great choices and will have you smelling like an actual adult. You’re welcome.
Jonathan Majors is a FORCE. In the last three weeks, I’ve seen Antman and The Wasp: Quantumania and Creed 3. I wouldn't say I liked the Antman movie; the pacing was weird as hell, and I thought it made no sense that Antman was strong enough to go head-to-head with Kang. Creed was a lot of fun to watch; I thought Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson had great on-screen chemistry in this one. Jonathan Majors absolutely killed it in both films. He was such a good villain in both, and especially in Creed 3; he kinda outperformed Michael B. Jordan. Really excited to see him in more things moving forward.
No Ceilings is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.