The Iowa Hawkeyes got some good news heading into this past weekend with the news that power forward Dale Jones has been granted a sixth year of eligibility.
Jones was going to participate in the upcoming 2016-17 season regardless of the outcome, but now Fran McCaffery will have the 6'7" forward around for the 2017-18 season as well.
The Iowa native didn't get to do much for the Hawkeyes last season, only playing in the first handful of games this past year, but that was because Jones had suffered a torn ligament in his right knee, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. This wasn't the first time knee injuries hampered Jones, with knee issues sidelining him twice in three years. Early in 2015 Jones was averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in around 13 minutes, though his role is expected to increase dramatically this season with the graduation of Adam Woodbury and Jarrod Uthoff.
Jones started his career at the junior college level averaging 9.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game before being sidelined in 2014 due to injuries. He returned for an impressive season as a sophomore, though, averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while earning NJCAA honorable mention All-American status. Even more notable was his shooting, hitting on 45% of his 218 three pointers and 84% from the free throw line.
While Iowa had the depth to not be hampered by losing Jones early last season, their frontcourt is losing two key contributors in Woodbury and Uthoff and will either need to find competent replacements or at least add some depth to keep the unit up to pace with a challenging Big Ten. If Jones can shoot the ball from outside like he did at the junior college level and continue to pick up rebounds inside, he could become a key contributor to an Iowa program that will need some fresh faces to step up this season.
Either way, adding an additional season of eligibility now means that Jones can contribute this season and possibly develop towards an even more impressive 2017-18 campaign. All things considered, the skill set is definitely there for the Waterloo native to become a key player in McCaffery's rotation heading forward.