Robert Jones. Bob Jones. Big Rob Energy. Bob Jones.
Whatever you might call the 6’ 10” big man, you probably have your thoughts on him. This past season with Bobby was a bit of a rollercoaster you might say. This is going to be as fair of a review of Bob’s season that can possibly be mustered. This being the internet, surely someone will find this offensive or an attack on his character. I assure you, that is not what this is.
Bob, step into my office.
Season at a Glance
At the beginning of the season, the story line around Bob was that the marked improvement of his low post game. His touch and especially his footwork were leaps better than the year prior. By all accounts, Bob had put in the effort and hard work in the offseason to improve his offensive game and it showed on the court. Before January 1, Bob had seven (7) games where he scored double digits. A week later on January 7th, he did it again. He did that just one (1) more time the entire rest of the season.
Not to say that Bob’s season should be judged by the number of points he scores. He’s not out there to be a scorer. Perhaps he flourished at the beginning of the season due to the relative lack of competition and talent compared to the Big 12? Perhaps early on Big Rob Energy just had more…energy? More confidence? The answer is probably some combination of them all.
From there the season for Bob consisted of less made shots, turnovers, and foul trouble. We will get into the numbers in a bit. But if you would let me just summarize the second half of the season in writing:
It was bad.
Not to say it was an abject disaster of a conference season for Bob. He mostly plays good defensive and rebounds the shit outta the ball on the offensive end. But when the ball was in his hands after an offensive board or by design, that’s when things usually fell apart.
If the ball was thrown to Bob on the block, too often it would go up and too often it would miss. Again, that’s not all on Bob. If the ball is being entered to Bob on the block that’s either a function of the offense and/or no one else on the court is reasonably open. I have my doubts that’s a staple of the offensive game plan, but with the mostly offensively challenged team we had last year, sometimes you just have to take the only shot available. But where the frustrations really grew was when it was fairly clear that Bob was struggling to convert from block and the free throw line, nothing seemed to change.
Ball enters to Bob on the block. Ball goes up. Ball misses.
Again, this is not all Bob’s fault. If guys are throwing down into the block and then not making themselves available off the ball for some inside-out action, that’s on the team as a whole. Perhaps the bigger point was Iowa’s State general lack of scoring threat so why would a defender help off his man. So then maybe a Bob post move was our best bet? The numbers (see below) show that to be categorically false. But the fact that it kept happening was absolutely maddening.
By the end season though, there did seem to be some improvement in this tortuous cycle. If you recall, Bob made a few very slick no-look passes out of the post for open shots. This does show he is coachable and has the ability to physically do it. That’s all we are looking for headed into next season.
As promised, below are some numbers for Bob courtesy of barttorvik.com. They are bad and usage is the problem.
In the Big 12 Conference games only: Bob was dead last in Offensive Rating and True Shooting %. Second to last in Effective Field Goal % and Free Throw %. Bob was also 7th in Turnover %.
The big problem here is Bob had a higher usage rate than everyone on the team but Jalen Holmes. Not good, Bob.
While those are not good, Bob…there are bright spots. These are what we want Bob to thrive on going forward:
Bob along with many other Cyclones were great at defense as you might suspect. Bob was 5th in the conference in Defensive Rating. As mentioned, Bob was also awesome on the offensive glass coming in 4th in the conference. Also a respectable 14th in defensive rebounds.
2023-2024 Season Outlook
It seems clear what Bob needs to do this upcoming year. Point blank, his usage needs to come way down. Fortunately, this is a problem that should be fixing itself with the amount of talent coming in. If Bob is going to the ball in the post, the team around him will have a better chance at knocking down a jumper from a Bob no-look pass.
Bob needs to go out there and keep playing Big Rob Energy on the defensive end and eat on the glass. Be a menace out there. Get some fouls, cause this time we have a stable of guys to go out there in your place if need be.
This will be Bob’s third year in Ames which is something we can’t say for many players nowadays. By the time his final year is over and if Bob can accomplish being the best garbage man on the court – he will leave Ames a fan favorite and beloved forever.
Let’s Go Bob.