COUNCIL BLUFFS — Sometimes Tre'Vonte Jones can't help himself.
The Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln senior point guard admits his own focus can get the best of him, and when it happens, his coach has a term for it.
"Coach calls me the pit bull," Jones said. "I don't really like to stand around. Once I'm in my zone defensively or offensively, I just keep going. Sometimes I'll just blank out and am locked on to something, and I've got to get it done.
"Sometimes, there's a screen and we're supposed to switch, but I'll just go through it. I'm not even thinking, and then it's like, 'Oh, I forgot to switch.' "
A.L. coach Jason Isaacson may provide Jones with a correction after such plays, but those tweaks are becoming rarer since the 6-foot, 195-pound guard arrived on campus in the spring of 2014, following his sophomore season at Thomas Jefferson.
Now, Jones is helping direct one of the most efficient offenses in Class 4-A. Entering play Thursday, the No. 6 Lynx (14-1) rank in the top five in the class in points per game (fifth, 69), field-goal percentage (second, 52.3 percent), 3-point percentage (fourth, 41.5 percent) and assists (fifth, 236).
Jones is doing his part, averaging 12.1 points and 4.0 assists per game.
He is a pivotal piece in Isaacson's up-tempo offense, which relies heavily on spacing, screening and penetrating. Jones' ability to cut through defenses and find teammates for open looks is a primary reason Abraham Lincoln's offense is in tune. Tony Bonner, a 6-8 post, leads the team at 19.2 points per game, and Kyle Crowl, a 6-2 guard, averages 17.5 while pacing the Lynx with 54 3-pointers.
"Those three help each other so much," Isaacson said. "Between spacing the floor and creating for each other, giving Tony room to work and all those things, they all benefit from each other."
While at T.J., Jones often played post despite his shorter frame. He averaged 3.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game and made just 1 of 15 3-point field goals. The Yellow Jackets often used a stall offense.
Once the season ended, Jones spoke with his mother, Deborah, and decided a change of scenery would be his best move, and he transferred to Abraham Lincoln.
Jones meshed instantly with his new teammates, and he made an impression on Isaacson. Almost every 50/50 ball went Jones' way in practice, and his toughness and readiness to learn earned his peers' respect.
"The biggest thing in his transformation was that he was eager and wanted to be coached," Isaacson said. "He wanted correction. He wanted to get better.
"Second, he was willing to work at it. When he came, we talked about him playing some point guard, and I told him what the price to do that is with our skill work, ball handling and shooting. He was willing to do it, and he worked his tail off to be where he is now."
Jones said his most significant improvement has been as a perimeter threat. He is shooting 42 percent from 3-point range this season after shooting at the same clip as a junior when he averaged 8.3 points a game. He also led the Missouri River Conference in assists (100) last season.
One of the biggest influences in Jones' life has been Isaacson. Jones' father, Ralph, died when Tre'Vonte was 5 years old, and the A.L. coach has provided him with a source of guidance.
"He didn't just help me on the court. He helped me off the court as a person and in life in general," Jones said. "He holds me accountable. My father died when I was 5, so he's like that father figure that I never had.
"He gets on me, but five seconds later, you're like, 'Yeah, he's on my side.' He just challenges me to be a better man and ball player."
Isaacson has been happy to see Jones blossom. The guard has received interest from Grace, Bellevue, Peru State, Grand View and Central (Nebraska) Community College, among others.
"He's an awesome kid. I love him like he's one of my kids," Isaacson said. "You get invested into the kid, not just the basketball player. You want to do everything possible to help him be successful."
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