The Florida Gators men’s basketball rebuilding project continued on Wednesday, as Penn State transfer Myreon Jones announced his commitment to the Gators on Twitter.
Next chapter pic.twitter.com/H2xWlkhHuz— Midnight (@MyreonJones21) April 7, 2021
Jones — whose Twitter display name is “Midnight,” a very cool nickname — committed to the Gators after reportedly receiving interest from a fair few high-major schools, including Alabama, Virginia, and 2021 Final Four participant Houston. He scored 15.3 points and collected 2.0 assists per game for the Nittany Lions in 2020-21 as they played out an especially strange season under interim coach Jim Ferry, who replaced longtime coach Pat Chambers after a remark involving the word “noose” prompted one player to transfer and sparked an internal investigation into Chambers and his ultimate resignation.
The Nittany Lions went 11-14 in 2020-21, and have since hired rising star Micah Shrewsberry as head coach. Jones is among a handful of departures from Happy Valley.
At 6’3”, Jones is certainly more likely to play as a guard and defend guards than serve as a true wing for the Gators, but it’s a good bet that he won’t be Florida’s point guard, as both incumbent Tyree Appleby and incoming Missouri-Kansas City transfer Brandon McKissic would seem more likely to be the primary ball-handlers for the Gators when on the court. And Jones’s statistical profile — which, per KenPom’s similarity score, amusingly merits comparisons to former Gators Kenny Boynton, KeVaughn Allen, and Mike Okauru — is that of a prolific scoring guard who could probably be more efficient with less usage.
As a junior, pressed into handling more volume, Jones struggled from inside the arc, shooting just 39.4 percent on his twos — he actually beat that mark, if barely, from distance, as he shot a very good 39.5 percent on his threes. But as a sophomore, Jones was even better on either side of the line, shooting a very healthy 48.8 percent on twos and 40.3 percent on threes — and in both years, he flashed the ability to carry the scoring load, torching Nebraska for 29 and scoring 20+ points in four straight Big Ten games as a junior and scoring 20+ six times as a sophomore before an injury sidelined and diminished him at year’s end.
And though Noah Locke choosing to transfer rather than return for his senior year in orange and blue left a hole in the Gators’ roster, Jones could conceivably fill it: He actually made more threes in 2020-21 than Locke did, and was one of the Big Ten’s best shooters in conference play in each of the last two years.
That’s not to say that Jones will obviously slot into Locke’s role — in fact, for Florida, he might be better cast as a sixth man backing up Appleby and McKissic, providing scoring punch off the bench and working as the off-guard alongside either player when one sits. But while Locke brought elite shooting — when he was on, at least — and not much else at an above-average level, Jones is, on paper, a more complete scorer and a better defender, having posted steal rates about double Locke’s in each of his three years.
And Florida bringing in players with statistical profiles as good or better than even some of its better departing players is certainly reason for optimism.