He's not ready quite yet, but he's getting there.
Incoming USC guard Maurice Jones (Saginaw, Mich./Arthur Hill) will be entrusted with a lot this year, as the projected starter at point guard to open the season until transfer Jio Fontan is cleared to play.
Despite his small stature, Jones — listed at 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds but appearing even smaller — packs quite a punch. In his debut alongside a number of future Trojan teammates at last weekend's Nike Sayno Classic, he displayed toughness in driving the lane, grit in maneuvering the length of the court with a balky knee and all-important poise in knocking down two key 3-pointers after teammates penetrated and kicked the ball out to him.
Still, he says he has a lot to learn — starting with a new style of play. According to Jones, his hard-knock Michigan roots can lead him astray on the basketball court in Southern California, where the play is a bit more carefree.
Bearing in mind that last weekend's games were some of the first Jones had ever played in the area, consider the learning process on the right track.
"I think, coming from the Midwest, guys kinda play a little harder — take it a little more personal," Jones said. "Here, we were just going with the flow a little bit. Once we got down, it kinda got outta control and gave up too many layups and stuff like that.
"But once we get in the gym, we should tighten that up."
Here's the full video with Jones, including his comments on some of his new teammates, like 6-foot-6 forward Garrett Jackson and 7-foot center DeWayne Dedmon, and plenty more: