Spencer Jones Returning for Fifth Year

Star forward declares it's time to get back to work

By Grant Avalon | 4-12-2023 09:26 PM PT

Photo by Stanford Athletics

Spencer Jones announced via social media his intent to return to Stanford for a fifth season, making use of his extra Covid year of eligibility.

"I've accomplished a lot at Stanford, and the Cardinal family has meant the world to me. I've improved my game each year, and I've grown equally as much on and off the court. I've developed life-long relationships, from which I'm going to hold onto, and for that I'm extremely grateful.
"But I'm not done yet.
"I'm here to be legendary. To break records. To realize my dreams, both at Stanford and beyond.
"I'm here to lead Stanford to the NCAA tournament. To play on the biggest stage. To give every ounce of what I have to a program and university that has given so much to me.
"The relationship I have with Coach Haase, the coaching staff, and my teammates is very special. And it's not time to move on. It's time to get right back to work.
"I'm back."

Getting Back to Work

Spencer currently sits just 44 3-pointers away from breaking Chasson Randle's school record, and 85 from the conference record set by Oregon's Tajuan Porter (2006-10). He made 72 this season, and drained a career-high 81 as a freshman. The conference record is well within reach, particularly if Stanford can stay alive deeper into March.

And that potential run is one of the reasons Spencer feels he has unfinished business. He emphasized that he wants to lead Stanford to the NCAA tournament. Next season will mark ten years since the program's last appearance, a surprise Sweet 16 run under Johnny Dawkins, led by four future NBA players.

This season Spencer earned Second Team All-Conference honors, and was the only player in Pac-12 play to average better than 15 points and 2 threes per game on a 40% clip from deep. By virtually every metric he was Stanford's best player on both sides of the court. He was the 7th ranked player in the conference overall, per Bart Torvik's advanced stats. It would not surprise me if he gets more All-Defense nods this upcoming season, as well.

Spencer becomes a relatively rare five-year player in this program. Rather than beginning grad school, he plans to take an additional year to finish his undergraduate degree in Management Science & Engineering, and leverage all the opportunities Stanford provides. That includes building on alumni connections and potential summer internship opportunities. This move makes a lot of sense, as basketball is one of the sports that is most difficult to balance with academics. The season spans two Stanford academic quarters, with preseason tournaments falling late in the fall quarter, and postseason tournaments hitting the end of the winter quarter. This will allow Spencer to focus more heavily on basketball as he chases his goals and continues to build on his NBA draft stock.

Due to some recent work from boosters, there also project to be additional NIL opportunities this season for men's basketball players.

Roster Outlook

The team currently figures to return four of five starters after Harrison Ingram announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal. They also return eight of the top ten in minutes played from a year ago. On top of that, they are adding McDonald's All-American Andrej Stojakovic, and four-star combo guard Kanaan Carlyle. Forward Jaylen Thompson is also coming off a redshirt season.

Jerod Haase and his staff remain active in the transfer portal. With the likely departures of Harrison, Isa Silva, Jarvis Moss, and Neal Begovich in the portal, the Cardinal should have two remaining scholarships. They feel comfortable about their depth on the wing and inside, but they have made it clear that they need additional help in the backcourt. Michael O'Connell and Michael Jones have collectively played a lot of collegiate games and Kanaan Carlyle could be a day-one impact guy, but they need more playmaking. This roster is full of guys who can be made better by playing with a dynamic guard, Spencer included.

Haase has declared that this team needs to get old, and stay old. With Spencer, Michael Jones, and James Keefe all looking to return, they may finally accomplish that first part.

The team had the best 3-point percentage in the nation over the second half of the season, and a top-10 overall offense during that same span. They have the firepower to post another top-25 offense. To take that next step, though, they will need a better defensive effort. Spencer is a good building block for any defense, and Kanaan Carlyle shows potential as a point of attack defender. As the defense goes, so will go the season.

--Stanford Men's Hoops National Champs '42 '91 '12 '15

TAGS: NCAA Stanford Spencer Jones Coach Haase NBA Johnny Dawkins Spencer Chasson Randle's preseason Ingram McDonald Andrej Stojakovic Kanaan Carlyle Forward Jaylen Thompson Jarvis Moss Neal Begovich Cardinal Jerod Haase Tajuan Porter Michael
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