Bryce Jones a nice surprise for USC basketball

For USC men's basketball devotees, a few clues to the Trojans' most pleasant surprise so far this season:

His last name is Jones, he's a freshman guard and, at age 18, he has already become a steady playmaker.

Maurice Jones, the fleet-footed point guard?

No, but close.

Try his roommate, Bryce Jones.

The Los Angeles native is tied with his roommate for second on the team in scoring with an average of 13.8, heading into USC's game here Saturday against Nebraska. He also averages 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Jones has played even better in the Trojans' last couple of games, with 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals against Bradley and 21 points in 24 minutes against New Mexico State.

"He's growing up," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said.

More than acclimating to college basketball, Jones is just now becoming more comfortable playing competitive basketball.

In high school, Jones played two seasons at unheralded Los Angeles View Park before transferring to Woodland Hills Taft, where he starred after sitting out his junior season.

Jones averaged 16.9 points and 7.5 rebounds to help the Toreadors to the City Section final, but he still felt behind because he played only three years of high school basketball, and in entirely different systems.

Then, of course, there are the other natural adjustments to a higher level of competition.

"In college, guys are bigger, stronger, faster," Jones said.

But through six college games, he seems to be settling in quickly.

Jones is averaging 1.8 steals a game and is shooting 42% (13 of 31) from three-point range.

"Bryce has great natural instincts as both an offensive and defensive player," O'Neill said.

Said Maurice Jones: "Bryce is just a natural athlete. He can do anything."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World