Just four seasons ago, in a December home game against St. Joseph’s, senior forward Jon Jaques ’10 got his first start in Newman Arena, bolstering him into the starting lineup of a team that would eventually advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament. Now, Jaques will return to the Red’s home court once again, this time on the sidelines as an assistant coach.After graduating from Cornell, Jaques spent one season playing professionally in Israel’s top division. He then coached for one year at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey before moving over to Columbia as an assistant.“It’s been amazing so far having Coach Jaques back on board here in Ithaca,” senior forward Dwight Tarwater said. “When he was a player here at Cornell I always knew he was extremely knowledgeable about the Ivy League and the game as a whole.”As an assistant coach with the Lions, Jaques handled the team’s film program and contributed to player development. According to Tarwater, this experience of coaching in the Ancient Eight will only add to his already extensive knowledge of how to play in the league.“With a year of coaching already under his belt I feel that this will help him immensely,” Tarwater said. “He knows this league, he knows our guys and he knows how to succeed.”While at Cornell, Jaques played under Coach Steven Donahue. Donahue was at the helm of the Red’s basketball program for ten seasons, taking his team to the NCAA tournament three times. Donahue’s successful teams were known for their efficient three-point shooting and focus on ball movement.However, in head coach Bill Courtney’s three seasons thus far with the Red, he has recruited players with more of a focus on speed and athleticism. Courtney’s style of basketball — which is beginning to revolutionize Ivy League play — is contingent on an up-tempo game, pushing the ball out into the open court for fast break opportunities.According to Tarwater, these variances in style should not pose a problem.“Coach Jaques won a whole lot of games in his four years here,” he said. “He knows what works, and how to succeed in doing what works, so I don’t think that the style differences will be an issue.”Jaques spent the majority of his first three years with the Red on the bench. He averaged only .8 points per game in 3.3 minutes per game his junior year. However in his senior campaign, after coming off the bench for the first eight games, Donahue decided to give Jaques a chance as a starter. After scoring 15 points in 23 minutes in the game against St. Joseph’s, Jaques was in the starting lineup to stay.He finished the season averaging 6.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He also led the Ivy League in three-point percentage at 47.2. Jaques’ experience shooting from beyond the arc will be especially important for a Red team that only shot 34 percent from three last season. With the departure of Johnny Gray — one of the Red’s three-point specialists — senior Dom Scelfo and sophomore Nolan Cressler will have to carry much of the shooting burden.“[Jaques] has already told us that he would love to rebound with us or help us with our shooting whenever we need it,” Tarwater said. “With the success Coach Jaques has had shooting the ball, his pointers will be extremely beneficial to our guys.”With the appointment of David Archer ’05 as the head coach of the football team last spring and now the addition of Jaques to the basketball program, it seems the athletic department feels that Cornell alumni can bring important information to the teams for which they previously played.“[Jaques] has been in our shoes as a student-athlete here at Cornell,” Tarwater said. “I really feel that he is the perfect fit for our program right now.”
CORRECTION: “A previous version of a sports article that ran Aug. 3, “Jon Jaques ’10 Joins the Cornell Coaching Staff,” incorrectly spelled incoming assistant coach Jon Jaques’ name Jon Jacques.
Original Author: Scott Chiusano