He was suspended by UM for the first 11 games of his senior season because his name was implicated in the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal, an allegation he and his family vehemently denied. The school, unable to produce any evidence against Jones, reinstated him Dec. 21, 2011, after he retained an attorney to challenge the suspension.
Through it all, Jones kept a positive attitude and took advantage of the time on the bench to become a better student of the game. He paid close attention to advice from then-new coach Jim Larranaga and assistants Eric Konkol, Chris Caputo and Michael Huger. The lessons have served him well in Magic camp. Larranaga and his staff continue to text Jones several times a week with tips and encouragement.
“My introductory meeting with Coach L when he was hired, he told me the key to success was to utilize my strengths and hide my weaknesses,’’ Jones said. “He broke my game down for me in a way nobody ever had, and taught me how to utilize my strengths in every situation, how to best cover a great shooter, how to guard a penetrator. He helped me understand how I can best make an impact with my energy and athleticism. Almost every day I reach back to a lot of what he and the other UM coaches taught me, and it still applies.’’
One of the few gaffes Jones has made in Magic camp came just before his first start. During pregame introductions, he jogged over and shook the hands of the referees, a college custom. The veterans immediately mocked him.
“Jameer was cracking up, told me that was a rookie move,’’ Jones said, laughing. “Those are moments you take with you for a long time. I’m just soaking it all in, playing my game and hoping for the best.’’