'Midnight' remaining humble, but expecting to play large role in Gators backcourt
One of Florida transfer Myreon Jones’ nicknames — “Buckets” — is fairly self-explanatory.
“That’s just what my coach (at Penn State), Coach (Pat) Chambers, gave me my freshman year,” Jones said. “Everybody would say ‘yeah he’s a bucket, he’s a bucket,’ so Coach started calling me Buckets.”
His other sobriquet — “Midnight” — is more mysterious, and its origin isn’t as basketball-oriented as the “Buckets” moniker.
At least it wasn’t initially.
“The Midnight one came from, you know, just me being bored in my freshman year. And, me and my roommates, we were just trying to figure out — we was bored, and we was online and we found this generator and it gave us nicknames. I had “Midnight,” and everybody was like ‘yeah, that's perfect for you’, you know, because it's like, people are gonna hear it and they’ll be like, ‘what does that mean’,” Jones said, “and when they already talked to me, they’re like ‘what is this guy thinking about it,’ so they was like ‘yeah just stick with it’.”
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Jones did more than just adopt the byname — the name also seemed to fit the podcast he started in May 2020 with former Nittany Lions teammate John Harrar, and soon “The Midnight Domino Show” was born. The podcast, started just two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, gave the two a chance to pull back the curtain and discuss the people behind the PSU program.
By then, Jones had proved he could be a go-to scorer for the Nittany Lions after finishing his sophomore season ranked second on the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game. Those close to Jones were noticing how fitting the nickname actually was for the guard from Birmingham, Alabama.
“It also went a long way, because they was like, ‘yeah you’re always in the gym real late and stuff, so I think that's just perfect for you’,” he said. “Ever since then, I stuck with it.”
His junior year at Penn State, Jones averaged a team-high 15.9 points per game while connecting on more than 39 percent of his 3-point attempts for the second consecutive season.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn Jones arrived in Gainesville in the offseason intending to once again be the team’s primary scoring option; a former point guard, he’s used to having the ball in his hands, and that’s still the case now that he’s less than three weeks away from making his debut with the Gators.
“Right now, from the practices, I’ve been playing a lot of one and two. I think they’ve been giving me the opportunity to play more one, more at the one spot,” Jone said. “I’ve been getting better every single day, and, really, I just feel like I’m going to have a big role on this team. I don’t know if, like, that’s a starter or off the bench. I don’t know yet, but, as of right now, it looks like I’ll have a big role on this team.”
For the Gators to exceed external expectations and reach internal ones, Jones knows he has to play his part, whatever that may be. No one on the roster led Florida in scoring last season and the entire team has started before now — the past has little bearing on future success.
For the team’s betterment, Myreon Jones can’t think of himself as the returning leading scorer — he has to have the “Midnight” mindset that kept him in the gym until odd hours of the night shooting jump shots until he’d earned said title.
“I think the biggest thing (for us) is really just leaving your egos at the door, you know. That's what we've been doing good at so far. Ever since we got here in the summer, you know, nobody's had an ego, and we have people that come from different teams that were the best player and they bought into the system that Coach White has us in,” Jone said.
“During the season, when the big lights come on, all the fans, and there's all the cameras and stuff, that can that can really change the team, and so I think the biggest part of that is just staying connected, keeping the egos at the door once the lights come on, too.”