Pinar Karsiyaka's Jarrod Jones claims Gameday 1 MVP honor
IZMIR (Basketball Champions League) - Four games into their season and there's something that all fans of Pinar Karsiyaka are sure of.
They have one heck of a big man in their lineup in Jarrod Jones, a 27-year-old that hails from the basketball heartland of America, Indiana.
The former Ball State Cardinal who has played professionally in Ukraine, Hungary, France, Italy and briefly in China, hasn't just been good at his latest stop with Karsiyaka.
He's been excellent, including on Wednesday night when his 29 points and 9 rebounds led the Turkish outfit to an 88-87 triumph at Dinamo Sassari.
Jones was so good, and made so many clutch shots and finished with a +33 efficiency rating, that he's been named as the Basketball Champions League's Gameday 1 MVP.
Those that watched Jones play at Sassari will have seen a player that causes match-up problems. He slots in at both the center (5) and power forward (4) positions.
Jones can nail the 3-pointer, which he did early in the fourth quarter to give his team a 70-68 lead over Sassari. If you include the Qualification Round 3 victories over Alba Fehervar, Jones has made 6 of 14 attempts from long range in the Basketball Champions League. After making 12 of his 16 shots from the floor against the Italians, Jones is now a scalding 32 of 49 (65.3%) in the competition.
Sassari's fans are amazing. They (Dinamo Sassari) get a lot of momentum from their fans. As a player, those are the types of places you want to play, to feed off that energy.Jones
He says that since embarking on his pro career in Europe, he has added new strings to his bow. He's a far better player, now.
"Definitely I fee like I've grown, more so after the last two, two and a half years," he said to the Basketball Champions League website. "Early on in my pro career, I was almost strictly a 5 position but now I'm playing the 4 and the 5. It gives me a big advantage being comfortable at either position.
"If I have a big guy on me, I can face up, or a smaller guy, I can use my size advantage. That's where I've had the most growth, being able to see the game and not be in a rush."
In the domestic league at the weekend against Efes Pilsen, Jones had 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor. He also grabbed 9 rebounds in his team's 92-85 home triumph.
"Everything is going well," he said. "We started the season pretty well, two big wins, 1-0 in the Turkish league, 1-0 in the Champions League. It's the best way we could have started and both are momentum boosters and we're trying to build on that."
The 2.10m (6ft 11) Jones, who spent last season in Italy with Pesaro, has quickly learned something else. The Basketball Champions League is special. It's going to give him opportunity to play in a terrific competition and in some special places.
"I think the Basketball Champions League is an amazing league and format," he said. "It's really exciting to be in a group where you are guaranteed 14 games and go to seven different countries. I'm looking forward to it.
"I think it's a great opportunity for exposure, too."
Jones wasn't surprised by the raucous atmosphere he encountered at Sassari.
"Sassari's fans are amazing," he said. "They (Dinamo Sassari) get a lot of momentum from their fans. As a player, those are the types of places you want to play, to feed off that energy."
He'll feel a similar buzz whenever he competes at home in Izmir.
"The Pinar Karsiyaka fans came out and brought us a lot of energy against Alba Fehervar in our first home game and also in our first game in the Turkish league against Efes," he said.
"They were great for us. I'm excited to be able to play there and experience that atmosphere. It gives me a lot of good feelings about the season to be able to play in front of fans like that."
Jones has already sampled the passionate atmosphere of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Karsiyaka Spor Salonu
So how far can Jones and Pinar Karsiyaka go this year? The club made it to the Quarter-Finals in the inaugural edition of the Basketball Champions League before falling to Umana Reyer Venezia.
"We are ambitious and want to go as far as we can," he said. "We have a young team and with each new day, we're getting more experience. Our younger players are becoming more reliable. Every game, we've got nothing to lose and we're playing hard."