Former Hannibal basketball standout Dezi Jones transfers to Austin Peay
HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -- It only took former Hannibal High School basketball star Dezi Jones three days to find a new home.
After officially announcing that he was entering the NCAA transfer portal earlier this week, the Quinnipiac guard said Friday night via Twitter he will be transferring to Austin Peay for the 2023-24 season.
“Back in that red,” Jones tweeted.
The 5-foot-9 guard is leaving Quinnipiac, located in Hamden, Conn., after being named to the 2022-23 All-MAAC second team. He led Quinnipiac (20-12 overall, 11-9 MAAC) in points per game (12.5), 3-point shot percentage (.417) and free-throw percentage (.835).
“Basically, I needed something new and a change for my future,” Jones said in an interview Saturday morning. “My gut was telling me to make the move, so I’m gonna go with my gut feeling.”
Austin Peay, located in Clarksville, Tenn., finished 9-22 overall and 14th in the ASUN last season, missing the conference tournament after ending the season with a 3-15 conference record.
After recently hiring new head coach Corey Gipson -- a former Austin Peay player -- away from Northwestern State (La.), the Governors will now have a starting-caliber point guard.
“Austin Peay is a great fit for me,” said Jones, who will be playing as a fifth-year senior because of the COVID year granted by the NCAA. “I have known or played with or against a lot of guys on the team.
Jones said he’s been recruited by and known some of the coaches for a while.
“I’ve known the coaches for awhile. Coach Ward (assistant coach Tim Ward) has recruited me a couple of times. I just want to bring something to the table and help us create something special,” Jones said.
Jones is part of the “Missouri Connection” that includes former Show-Me State prep players DeMarcus Sharp, Jamonte Black, Jalen Hampton, Jordan Wilmore and Isaac Haney who followed Gipson from Missouri State to Northwestern State and now to Austin Peay, and who all have varying degrees of eligibility remaining.
As far as his role, Jones will be the point guard.
”I expect to contribute and bring energy every night,” said Jones, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in applied business. “And be a leader.”
Jones, who transferred to Quinnipiac after spending two seasons with Moberly Area Community College, is joining his third collegiate team in five years.
During the 2021-22 season at Quinnipiac, Jones averaged 11.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on 47.4 percent shooting. He scored season-high 26 points at Monmouth on March 3, 2022.
Prior to signing with Quinnipiac, Jones played at Moberly Area Community College during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
He averaged 17.5 points, 4.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game in 22 contests as a sophomore at MACC in 2020-21 – shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from 3-point range.
During the 2019-20 season, Jones averaged 12.0 points, 4.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game for MACC in 33 contests as a freshman. Jones shot 43.6 percent from the floor, and 37.9 percent from 3-point distance.
As a senior at Hannibal during the 2018-19 season, Jones led the Pirates to the North Central Missouri Conference title as he averaged 30.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.
For his career, Jones left as Hannibal’s all-time leading scorer with 2,153 points. He tallied 721 points during his senior year.
He set a school record for points in a game with 50 against Marshall on Feb. 9, 2019.
By moving from Connecticut to Tennessee, Jones will be six hours away from family friends in Hannibal instead of 17 hours.
“My family was able to see a few games out here,” Jones said. “But being closer to home, maybe they’ll be able to catch more games.”
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