Myles Jones is ‘getting back to the old me’ with help of Atlas teammates
With the Redwoods, Jones’ production tapered off this season, averaging 0.6 points per outing. He was scratched from the lineup after the fifth week of the season and traded to the baby blue three weeks after that. A color that Jones said makes his skin itch – as a Duke graduate who rivals UNC – quickly proved to be a welcomed wear.
In three games with Atlas, Jones posted seven points (3G, 4A), equaling his goal total and more than doubling his point total in his five games with the Redwoods. It took Jones 84 touches to amass three points with the Redwoods, and only 24 touches to do the same on Atlas.
“I think I'm starting to find my groove,” Jones said. “I’m really excited to play with these guys. We move well. We’re young. We’re fast.”
In his first game against his former team Friday, Jones scored two goals and had one assist, in which he hit Eric Law on the crease from well beyond the 15-yard arc. It’s connections like this, Jones said, that help Jones “feel like the old me, being able to see and scan the offense and hit him in that corner when we needed a push and some momentum.”
The “old” Jones exploited his imposing physicality and padded the stats. He logged 20+ points in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022, a marker he’d be on track to hit if he started the 2023 season generating the same production as he is on Atlas.
Before the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder was pushed to the edge of the Redwoods’ midfield rotation, he was a Bull. Now he’s back to his roots. In the last three contests, Jones looked more confident coming out of the box and powering down the alley for the shot, or drawing a double and dishing the ball off for a quick catch-and-shoot. It’s helped to have Law and Xander Dickson, Atlas’ two best off-ball attackmen, insidiously moving around the crease.
Jones’ second assist against the Redwoods on Friday came from X, on a short-side pass through the crease to Dickson, who netted the behind-the-back shot.
“I had an opportunity where I dodged, saw his stick, put it right on there and he was able to finish,” Jones said. “The guys on our team move really well… Having the ball in my stick, I'm getting more comfortable seeing the guys, seeing who’s open and being able to scan the field, just getting back to the old me.”
While others on Atlas call Dickson “Slim,” Jones opts for “slick.”
“Slick finisher, slick player.
“He’s always open, even if a guy is draped on him.”
While coach Mike Pressler said Jones is a “thrilling” addition to a struggling Atlas team, there’s still plenty to improve upon – like capitalizing off Trevor Baptiste’s success at the stripe within the 32-second shot clock, transitional defense and recording less (way less) turnovers – if the 2-8 Atlas want to make it past the first round of the playoffs. But as parts of the game that haunted Atlas every week, Jones knows that. Like his late-season turnaround, he thinks the Bulls are capable of the same.
“It’s anybody’s trophy at this point…” Jones said. “We have a boatload of talent, it’s just being able to connect on some of those plays that’s going to lead us to be successful. We know we can do it. Our defense has been locked in for three quarters, our offense has been lights out for three quarters, now we just have to make it four on both sides.”