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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Sullivan Sisters bring bluegrass to Evanston
Sullivan Sisters bring bluegrass to Evanston
Marin Ubersox, In-Depth Editor • February 22, 2024
Actors Gymnasium has served as a core part of Evanstons arts scene since it began 29 years ago.
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On the cutting edge
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Long before she was cracking up crowds on improv’s premier stage at Second City, Claire McFadden spent her days in Evanston getting her first taste of improv and sketch comedy. (Photo courtesy of Claire McFadden)
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Sam Froum, Arts & Entertainment Editor • December 21, 2023

Now in college basketball spotlight, former Wildkit returns to Evanston

After an illustrious career with Evanston, Lance Jones is now playing vital minutes for one of the nation’s top-ranked programs.
In+his+fifth+year+of+college+eligibility%2C+former+Wildkit+star+Lance+Jones+opted+to+join+a+Purdue+team+hoping+for+a+long+March+Madness+run+in+2024.
Jonah Charlton
In his fifth year of college eligibility, former Wildkit star Lance Jones opted to join a Purdue team hoping for a long March Madness run in 2024.

On April 8, former Evanston basketball star Lance Jones verbally committed to Purdue. 

The Boilermakers, who were shocked in the 2023 NCAA March Madness Tournament by #16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, had found their guy.

Jones’s career at Evanston was one of the most successful in Wildkit history. The guard led the Kits to two trips downstate in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and was named to the IBCA all-state first team as a senior. Jones and the Kits won three straight sectional championships from 2016-2019 and the star was offered by UAB, Illinois State and Southern Illinois.  

Jones spent the previous four years with the Salukis, where he averaged 14 points a game as a senior and was named twice to the all-Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Team. Jones was a third-team all-MVC player last year and led Southern Illinois to a solid 23-10 season. So it was a no-brainer for Purdue coach Matt Painter to reach out to Jones when he entered the transfer portal on March 30 as a fifth-year senior. Nine days later, Jones verbally committed to the Boilermakers, where he was granted a final “Covid year” of eligibility.

After just a summer with his new team, Jones earned a starting role immediately. He’s made an instant impact on the floor for the Boilermakers this year, averaging 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Jones has shot the three at a 39 percent clip. But perhaps the biggest impact that goes far beyond the stat sheet for the senior guard is his defensive effort, where he’s known for his quickness and ability to guard opposing teams’ best players. Jones has logged 27 minutes a game and is averaging 1.5 steals/game.

Last month, Jones and Purdue played in the ESPN Maui Invitational in Hawaii, the most highly anticipated in-season basketball tournament of the year. In the first game of the tournament, Jones helped Purdue surge past #11 ranked Gonzaga, 73-63, contributing 13 points and two steals. A day later, Purdue faced up against #7 Tennessee, where they hung on 71-67 to advance to the Maui championship. Although Jones didn’t have his best game on the stat sheet, he got national attention for a crossover ankle-breaker into a stepback three.

That wouldn’t be the end of Jones’ solid play in the tournament. In the finals, against a red-hot #4 ranked Marquette team, Jones had a phenomenal game. The super-senior was efficient on offense by dropping 15 points, while also tallying five rebounds. Three of those points came from 72 feet away from the basket on a full-court heave to beat the first-half buzzer. Coupled with 7-foot-4 senior Zach Edey’s 28 points, the Boilermakers went on to win the game 78-75 to take home the championship trophy.

In the next AP poll, Jones and company were ranked #1 after stacking up three top-ten wins. Despite now being the top team in the country, Purdue had its eyes set on a team in Evanston that had knocked them off last year in February when the Boilermakers were ranked #1. Jones headed back to Evanston to take on Northwestern on Friday, Dec. 1 for the first time in his career as a player. Jones grew up going to Northwestern games and had thirty of his friends and family in a packed Welsh-Ryan Arena for his homecoming. 

While Jones didn’t have his best game offensively, he still found his way to double figures, chipping in ten points. On the defensive side of the ball, he was tasked with guarding Northwestern’s Boo Buie all night long. Jones fought off ball screens, stayed with Buie, and pressed throughout his 31 minutes in the game. While Buie did have 31 points, most of his points came when Lance was off the floor. 

The game was a war; a back-and-forth battle that made both squads dig deep into their bench. No team led by more than three points from the 16:07 mark in the second half until Buie’s free throws in OT. With 49 seconds left in the game, Jones picked up his 5th foul and fouled out of the game. Down 76-74, the Boilermakers called a timeout with two seconds left in the game near the Northwestern basket. Purdue threw it up to Edey who laid it up for his 31st point in the game, sending the game to overtime.

After Purdue took the initial lead in overtime, Northwestern battled back and went on to win the game, taking down #1 Purdue for the second year in a row at Welsh Ryan Arena. When the buzzer sounded, Wildcat students, decked out in all black stormed the court.

Jones and Purdue ended up falling to #4 in Monday’s AP rankings and will begin a gauntlet the next couple of weeks, where they will take on Iowa, #23 Alabama, and #2 Arizona in their next three games.

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About the Contributors
Owen Chiss, Digital Sports Editor
Will Klearman, Opinion Columnist
Hey everyone! I’m Will Klearman (he/him) and this year I am an opinion columnist as well as a sports writer. I am a sophomore and this is my second year on staff. Being on The Evanstonian is great because it allows me to get an inside look on the sports at ETHS. I also love getting my opinion out there. Outside of The Evanstonian, I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing tennis and watching sports!
Jonah Charlton, Executive Editor
My name is Jonah Charlton. I'm a senior and Executive Editor for The Evanstonian. I oversee the Arts & Entertainment, Sports and Photo and Art sections. Prior to this year, I was a photographer (2015-17), Photo and Art Editor (2017-2018), Layout Editor (2017-2018) and Staff Writer (2017-2018). As a writer and photographer, I've covered community events such as the fate of the Harley Clarke mansion to major school events such as the boys' basketball state semifinal game and the student led walkout against gun violence. Outside The Evanstonian, I play tennis, teach one through six year old children at Chiaravalle Montessori School and am on the Chicago International Student Film Council. While I am unsure of what my future holds, The Evanstonian has provided a space where my communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills have flourished.
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