In this first entry, Jones touches on his commitment to Duke, the reaction of his friends and family, the first 17 games of his junior season, and recounts his Christmas holidays.
December 29, 2011
The first semester went really well for me both academically and on the court. In the classroom I managed to come away with all As and a B. I really enjoy English, but for sure my worst subject is Math. Still I was pretty happy with my grades and how things are going in that regard.
On the court our season is going really well. We're 15-2 on the year and I'm averaging around 21 points and eight rebounds per game. We started our season on an 11 game win streak and we've beaten some pretty tough opponents including Cameron Ridley's team.
That game was actually one where I felt like our team grew up a little bit. We were down by 20 at the half, and we weren't playing very well. In the second half I don't know what happened, but we played terrific and ended up winning by seven. I had 35 points and was just "on" in the second half. After the game I felt like I had finally proven myself, and shown that I can put this team on my shoulders when I have to.
THE COMMITMENT TO DUKE
I knew I wanted to commit to Duke pretty early. Once I made the decision it was kind of a relief for me, and I'm really happy with my decision. The recruiting process was never really overwhelming for me because I had a strong support group with my family.
Since I made the commitment I've talked with Coach K a few times and I just talked to Coach Wojo the other day. They continue to check in and talk to me about things other than basketball, while checking in on how things are going. When it comes to basketball they are just telling me to continue to work hard and to always push to get better.
After I made the decision, my family and friends were really happy. They love the decision and the opportunities committing to Duke brings. I have noticed that since I committed I've gotten a lot more attention from my opponents and fans. Sometimes it's a situation where people are asking if I'm that kid going to Duke, while other times it's other guys trying to go harder at me. At first it was an adjustment, but I've gotten used to it since then.
This summer I'm really looking forward to playing with my AAU team in the EYBL. The level of competition you get to see every game in the EYBL just makes you better. Last year we surprised a lot of people and made it to the Elite Eight. This year we want to get back to the Peach Jam and win a championship.
Individually I know I've got the reputation as a shooter, and that's OK. I know that I can shoot the ball, but I also know how much work I've put in on other parts of my game. When I go out there I'm always trying to improve and become a better defender, a better ball handler, and a better teammate.
It was a really great holiday spending time with my family. My favorite gift was from my mom who got me a Duke hoodie. I mean it's from my mom, and you have to love anything your mom does for you.
I also had a chance to go with my high school team to pass out food and presents at the local shelter. It really was a good feeling to know we were helping those who needed some help. My high school coach organized it and I think everyone really got something out of it.
Be sure to follow Matt Jones on Twitter @matt_jones8