Teven Jones had a front row seat for much of last year's basketball season at Virginia. Now the redshirt freshman is hoping that head start to his college career can help him fill the Cavaliers' void at point guard.
Jones was one of four players to sign with Virginia last November, along with center Mike Tobey and forwards Justin Anderson and Evan Nolte. At the time, Jones was playing a post-graduate season for Fishburne Military Academy in nearby Waynesboro, after averaging 22 points and seven assists as a senior at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, N.C.
But Jones enrolled at Virginia for the spring semester last January, allowing him to join the basketball team. He didn't dress for any of the team's games, but he was able to practice with the Cavaliers, who won 22 games and reached the NCAA Tournament.
Jones credits that extra semester for preparing him for his first full season of college basketball -- especially last spring's crash course in coach Tony Bennett's pack line defense.
"Learning that early really gave me an advantage to the other recruits that came in," Jones said. "And then learning the speed of the game really helped me a lot. So when we're in practice, you can definitely tell the difference. I've really improved."
Jones is among the options Bennett has mentioned as part of the Cavaliers' "point guard by committee" they'll start the season with. Last year's starter, senior Jontel Evans, will miss at least the team's opener after surgery on a stress fracture in his foot; sixth-man Malcolm Brogdon, who spelled Evans at the point last season, is still sidelined after foot surgery last March.
And Jones thinks his redshirt semester prepared him to step into that spot.
"A lot more (prepared)," Jones said. "If hadn't come last semester, I don't think I would have been ready to hit the floor at all, to be honest. So that really helped. I'm thankful for that, and to the coaches for letting me do that."