One thing about Bryce Dejean-Jones is certain. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to fit in.
Dejean-Jones arrived at Iowa State in mid-July after finishing up his classwork at UNLV, where he led the Rebels last season averaging 13.6 points per game. Dejean-Jones arrived at ISU a few weeks ahead of when he needed to, looking to get to know his teammates better.
“I’m excited to be here,” Dejean-Jones said. “It has been great getting to meet the guys and getting to know them better. I’m ready to work hard and spend all day, every day in the gym. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
The explosive wing, who was listed at 6-5 at UNLV but was recently measured at 6-6 by ISU strength coach Andrew Moser, has Cyclone fans dreaming of DeAndre Kane 2.0. Dejean-Jones knows the history of transfers under Fred Hoiberg is rich, and he hopes to leave his own mark.
“DeAndre Kane came here and did what he did, much like the other guys before him,” Dejean-Jones said. “I am looking to create my own path, make my own situation as good as possible.”
Take caution when comparing Dejean-Jones to his predecessor. Kane was one of the most complete players in the nation, averaging 17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He played with the ball in his hands more than Dejean-Jones will probably be expected to.
From all indications Dejean-Jones likely boasts more bounce than Kane, and he arrives at Iowa State as a better shooter on the perimeter, percentage-wise anyway, than last year’s Big 12 Newcomer of the Year was at Marshall.
Dejean-Jones is a career 33.8 percent 3-point shooter and his athletic ability is second to none on the perimeter according to his new coach.
“By watching Bryce on film I can tell that he is going to be our best athlete on the perimeter,” Hoiberg said. “He can really get up and down the floor and is a high flyer. Bryce possesses a really nice shooting touch as well.”
If previous history is any indication, Dejean-Jones’ career numbers will likely improve under Hoiberg. But that isn’t what attracted him to the program.
“I think for me it was the way he [Hoiberg] gets guys to play together,” Dejean-Jones said. “It is great to watch them on the floor together. It seems like they are having a good time playing. The way they move the ball around, everyone on the court is contributing.”
Awards and honors are nice. But if you talk to Dejean-Jones it is easy to see he just loves the game.
“I just love being able to wake up every day, come out to the gym and produce,” Dejean-Jones said. “I love getting better at a game I’ve loved to play since I was a little kid.”
Dejean-Jones’ expectations for the next year hinge on one thing. Hard work.
“I want to accomplish whatever we can by working hard,” Dejean-Jones said. “Whatever that is I can live with as long as we work hard. We have a lot of great guys on the team from the big men to the guards. It is exciting to me to see such great competition every time we are on the court.”
It is that team-first mentality that has made Hoiberg’s teams so successful in his first four seasons, and he believes Dejean-Jones will fit in just fine.
“The biggest thing we need to do with Bryce is fit him into what we want to do,” Hoiberg said. “From all the conversations I’ve had with Bryce, he’s very willing to buy into what we are trying to do.”
2013-14 Stats: 13.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 rpg, 42.7 FG%, 32.3 3FG%, 64.3 FT%
Check it out: Highlights from his 2013-14 season at UNLV.
Did you know: Dejean-Jones is the fourth player in three years to join the Cyclones after leading his previous team in scoring (Will Clyburn, DeAndre Kane, Abdel Nader).
Quoting: “Bryce has so much bounce. You look at his Twitter picture and half his arm is above the rim. He got a dunk when he was here that shocked me. He can go off the dribble and shoot the ball. We are looking for big things from Bryce.” – Monté Morris in May interview with Cyclone Sidebar.
Follow Shoultz on Twitter: @mjshoultz