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Graduate Transfer Curtis Jones Jr. Poised To Make Immediate Impact For Penn State Hoops

Nittany Lion fans didn’t necessarily know a whole lot about Curtis Jones Jr. when he transferred to Penn State this past June.

The guard out of Richmond, Virginia is truly a veteran in every sense of the word. He began his college career at Indiana in 2016 and played two seasons with the Hoosiers before transferring to Oklahoma State. Jones played just one season with the Cowboys, but it was his best statistically. He averaged 8.1 points per game and hit 32.5% of his shots from beyond the arc.

That type of potential is what Jones flashed in bursts during his time as a Hoosier. In one game against Kansas as a freshman in 2016, he scored 19 points and hit four threes on as many attempts. While he has solid scoring ability and the tendency to explode and go on huge hot streaks, Jones feels he can add value in several other parts of the game that will play a key role for the Nittany Lions this season.

“I’m trying to be a leader since I’m of one the older guys. I’ll do that by sharing experiences that I’ve had so far in my career,” Jones said. “I’ll try to do do as much as I can on defense, especially in rebounding.”

Jones brought in 2.6 defensive rebounds for Oklahoma State last season. His ability to collect boards on that side of the ball can help Penn State in its transition offense in order to score quick baskets throughout this year.

The graduate transfer joins a Nittany Lion roster that already has plenty of depth at guard. Jamari Wheeler, Myles Dread, and Myreon Jones all played significant minutes last season, while fellow transfer Izaiah Brockington sat out last season but is expected to get plenty of playing time this year.

While it’s certainly a crowded roster, Jones says that there are several positives that come with being able to play with so many talented guys.

“When you have so much depth like we do, you get to learn a lot from each other,” Jones said. “When you compete against each other every single day you’re making each other better, and I think our depth is definitely one of our strengths. I enjoy playing with each guard because we all have different styles, so it’s been fun.”

Brockington is one of the most intriguing guards that Jones has gotten the chance to practice with this summer. He transferred to Penn State last year after his freshman season at St. Bonvaventure, but he had to sit out all of last season. The young guard has loved having Jones on the roster thus far, and values him as a key resource.

“[Curtis] is one of the older guys and he’s played against a lot of talented teams,” Brockington said. “It’s really good to pick his mental about how he sees plays. He’s always cool and level-headed.”

Jones’ experience certainly makes him a great source of information for any young players on the roster. The 6’4″ guard has played a total of 60 games in the Big Ten and Big 12 — two of the top basketball conferences in the country — and has faced off against some serious competition over the course of his career.

In terms of experience, Jamari Wheeler and Taylor Nussbaum have the most in Happy Valley out of any guards on the roster. Wheeler, who is now entering his third season as a Nittany Lion, is one of the scrappiest defensive players on the team and already has 63 steals through two seasons.

The defensive-minded junior thinks Jones can make an immediate impact in Happy Valley.

“Since day one he’s fit right in,” Wheeler said. “He’s a great shooter, athlete, and has a ton of bounce. He understands exactly how we want to play and was a great pick up for us.”

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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