Army National Guard of the Week: Lance Jones talks playing at Mackey Arena

Army National Guard of the Week: Lance Jones talks playing at Mackey Arena

Mackey Arena is widely considered one of the toughest road venues in college basketball. The fans are loud, passionate, and go to all extremes to make sure they get under their opponents’ skin.

So, it should serve as no surprise that the idea of playing in front of those fans at Mackey was a major selling point for Lance Jones when he was deciding where he would call home ahead of the 2023-204 college basketball season.

“You don’t really get a full feel for it until you play there,” Jones said of Mackey Arena. “Nothing can really describe it.”

Jones, who played four years at Southern Illinois before entering the transfer portal this past offseason, made the decision to head to West Lafayette for his fifth and likely final year of college hoops. The decision has paid major dividends, as he’s helped the Boilermakers get out to an impressive 19-2 start to the season and the No. 2 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 poll.

The senior guard from Evanston, Illinois is averaging 12.1 points and a team-best 1.5 steals per game this season for Purdue. He has scored in double figures in eight of the Boilermakers’ last 10 games and has developed into a lockdown defender on the perimeter. Jones’ impressive play has led to him being named this week’s FOX Sports Army National Guard of the Week. With that, we discussed several engaging topics in our conversation, including how the Boilermakers stay focused, the allure of playing in front of 15,000 screaming fans, and even his viral dance moves.

“This place has been nothing short of amazing,” Jones said of playing in Mackey. “The fans and everything they do — the chants, how they cheer for us, the way they get on opponents and feed off our energy, they help us more than they know.”

Something that Purdue fans have latched onto is Jones’ penchant for dancing during games. While fans can be seen dancing to “Sandstrom,” which blares through the Mackey Arena speakers, Jones shows off his own moves down on the court, which has become a viral sensation as of late.

“I’ve been doing it every home game, and now, they put it on the jumbotron,” Jones said of his dance moves. “It’s just a different way to connect with the fans.”

Jones’ dancing skills should be on full display Wednesday night when the Boilermakers host Northwestern in a Big Ten clash. Purdue sits at 8-2 in the conference standings, good for second place, while the Wildcats are 6-3, tied for third with Illinois. Wisconsin currently sits in first place atop the Big Ten standings at 8-1 in conference play.

“This season is a grind. I don’t think everybody realizes how hard it is to stay locked in as long as we need to stay locked in,” Jones said. “This is a long season. If we stay hungry, stay focused on our goals, then I like our chances.”

Watch my complete interview with Jones below and follow along at FOXSports.com and on social media, @CBBonFOX, for our next FOX Sports Army National Guard of the Week interview.

Purdue Boilermakers’ Lance Jones is Michael Cohen’s Guard of the Week

Purdue Boilermakers' Lance Jones is Michael Cohen's Guard of the Week

Michael Cohen covers college football and basketball for FOX Sports with an emphasis on the Big Ten. Follow him on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13.


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