The graduate transfer center who’ll help fortify Creighton’s frontcourt depth actually found himself analyzing the statistics of the Jays’ perimeter players when he was initially researching potential landing spots.
What Kelvin Jones quickly realized: The Jays are bringing back several elite shooters who’ll space the floor and stretch a defense.
And that could create some favorable in-the-paint scoring opportunities for a 6-foot-11 big man.
“Creighton’s outside game is amazing,” Jones said. “They play fast. There are great guys on the team. Everybody wants to win. And in this system, you’re surrounded by shooters — and the post players, they get the room to work inside.”
So Jones is eager to see what he can do.
The Idaho State transfer announced Monday that he’s committing to Creighton, adding some experience and much-needed height to the Jays’ 2019-20 roster. Jones visited CU last week. He also took a visit to Virginia Tech.
The addition was an important one for Creighton.
Martin Krampelj, after a standout junior campaign, decided last month to forgo his senior season of eligibility and begin his professional career. The 6-foot-9 forward was an all-Big East honorable mention who led the Jays in scoring and rebounding during league play.
Samson Froling left Creighton right after last season as well, choosing to return home to Australia and play professionally. The 7-footer showed potential during his freshman season at CU.
Those two decisions left the Jays in a bit of a bind. Creighton’s roster next year was (temporarily) set to feature just two scholarship players taller than 6-foot-6: sophomores Jacob Epperson and Christian Bishop.
So the CU staff reached out to Jones, who’d entered the transfer portal after his coach at Idaho State was fired at the end of the year.
Jones said he felt a genuine vibe from the Creighton coaches. What he envisioned for his final year of collegiate eligibility fit with the Jays’ needs and expectations, according to Jones.
“It was just easy,” Jones said of last weekend’s visit to Omaha. “Everything felt right about the situation.”
Jones said he intends to join Creighton before it starts its 10-practice allotment in July ahead of an August trip to Australia.
It’s definitely been a frantic few weeks for Jones, but he’s looking forward to carving out a role with his new team.
Jones averaged 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 55.3% from the floor for Idaho State as a junior last year. He started his collegiate career at UTEP before transferring to Odessa College in Texas.
Creighton is up next. And he’s looking forward to it, particularly since he’ll join a squad that returns six of its top seven scorers — including perimeter threats like Ty-Shon Alexander, Mitch Ballock, Davion Mintz and Marcus Zegarowski.
“I feel like definitely I’ve come a long way, but I’m just excited to be where I’m at,” Jones said. “It’s my last year of college, and I get to play at an amazing environment like Creighton. It’s like a Cinderella story.”