Troy Jones could see it in his son’s eyes.
He didn’t make the trip to Columbus, but he saw the determination through his TV screen, as DeVante’ Jones willed Michigan — without Hunter Dickinson — to a seismic victory over Ohio State, all but punching its ticket to the Big Dance.
“He was locked in, ready to go,” Troy Jones said by phone Sunday afternoon, a few hours after DeVante’ notched 21 points and nine assists. “I just know he wants to get to the (NCAA) Tournament, period.”
Jones came to Michigan, as many up-transfers do, with the primary intention of winning. He endured a quartet of fruitless seasons at Coastal Carolina, not once qualifying for the NCAA Tournament despite his individual success.
Enter Michigan, a program with a recent penchant for NCAA Tournament wins, coming off a Big Ten Tournament Championship and replenishing its roster with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class. On paper, it seemed like a cookie-cutter swap — Jones would step in to fill the void left by Mike Smith, a seamless transition.
Very quickly, the plan dissolved.