Eshaunte "Bear" Jones (pronounced E-shawn-tay) made a solid contribution as one of the Huskers' top performers off the bench in 2009-10, and will be looking to make a great impact on Nebraska's success this season.
Jones, who was forced to redshirt following surgery on his left foot and a sports hernia in 2008-09, was one of the Huskers' top long-distance shooters in 2009-10. He ranked second on the team in 3-pointers (40) and 3-point shooting percentage (43.5 percent). Although the 6-foot-4 guard averaged just 6.0 points per game as a redshirt freshman, he showed the ability to score against good teams, as five of his six double-figure efforts came against postseason clubs, including a 21-point performance at BYU.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., product has always had the ability to fill up the basket during his career, racking up over 1,800 points in his high school career. His shooting ability makes him valuable as NU replaces Ryan Anderson on the wing this season.
Jones helped Nebraska go 4-0 on the Huskers' foreign trip, averaging 7.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
2009-10 (Redshirt Freshman)
Jones was healthy after missing almost all of the previous season. He averaged 16.9 minutes per contest in 29 games. He averaged 6.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist per contest, shooting 42.7 percent from the field. The 6-4 guard was one of the Huskers' most prolific 3-point shooters, draining 43.5 percent from beyond the arc, as Nebraska set the team school mark at 39.7 percent in 2009-10.
Jones' long distance shooting helped him rank sixth on the Huskers' single-season 3-point percentage chart. His average was also the second-highest ever by a Husker freshman. On the year, Jones hit 40 3-pointers to rank second on the team and fifth all-time among Husker freshmen. Jones was also efficient with the ball, holding a nearly 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, collecting 29 assists against just 13 turnovers.
His top performance came in the championship of the Las Vegas Classic when he scored a season-high 21 points, one of six double-figure scoring games on the season. Jones hit 6-of-11 shots from the floor against BYU, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, while adding three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 27 minutes off the bench. In the tournament opener, Jones had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, all from 3-point range, in a victory over Tulsa to help him earn all-tournament honors.
Jones made a pair of starts during the season and was one of a school-record five freshmen who made at least one start in 2009-10. He played a career-high 32 minutes against Kansas, hitting four 3-pointers for 12 points. It was one of six games against Big 12 teams that Jones had at least two treys on the season.
Jones was slowed by a foot injury that forced him to take a medical redshirt after four games. He got off to a great start, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers, in an exhibition win over Chadron State. The injury limited Jones to just 46 minutes in the regular season before surgery. He scored seven points and hit just 2-of-7 from the floor, over those four contests.
Jones originally signed an NLI with Oregon State in the 2007 early signing period. He was released from his commitment following a coaching change, giving the Huskers a chance to sign one of the top playmakers in the prep school ranks. Jones attended Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) for one season following high school. He played only a partial season because of a foot injury, but averaged about 16 points and five rebounds per contest over the first 12 games of the 2007-08 season. His efforts helped Hargrave to a 12-0 start before the team continued on to an undefeated season with a 29-0 record, including winning the National Prep Invitational title.
Jones joined the Hargrave squad after a stellar high school career at Fort Wayne (Ind.) North Side High School. He is the first player to sign with Nebraska from the state of Indiana since Brennon Clemmons before the 2001-02 season, although they are far from alone in representing the Hoosier state while wearing a Husker uniform. Six of Nebraska's 25 1,000-point scorers have come from Indiana, including Carl McPipe (Hammond), Tom Baack (Fort Wayne), Jack Moore (Muncie), Brian Carr (Muncie), Brian Banks (Hammond) and Herschell Turner (Indianapolis).
As a senior, Jones averaged 28 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals per contest for North Side, ranking third in the state as a senior. He earned a spot on the prestigious Indiana All-Stars team as one of the top 12 players in the state.
A three-time, first-team all-conference selection, Jones finished his career as the school's all-time scoring leader with 1,759 points. He was named the area player of the year by the Fort Wayne News Sentinel and the Journal Gazette and was a McDonald's All-America nominee as a senior. Jones was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 31 shooting guard nationally and was a four-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. Entering his prep school season, Jones was No. 10 nationally on the fifth-year seniors listing by HoopScoopMagazine.com.
Eshaunte is the son of Tornette Jones, and was born on March 9, 1988. He has two brothers, Juwan and Devin, and a sister, LaKia. Jones chose to sign with the Cornhuskers after being recruited by Kentucky, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Memphis. He majors in sociology at Nebraska.