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Zac Jones: From Virginia to Center Stage at WJC

Drew a Penalty

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How Rangers prospect Zac Jones worked his way from Virginia to center stage at the world juniors


?I?ve always been a smaller guy on the ice, so when I finally hit that growth spurt I had a bigger sense of confidence in myself just knowing that not everybody?s going to be trying to hit me no matter what,? Jones said.


?I think it?s good that I started out so small because it helped me with my skating, my edges, my vision on the ice. I had to be looking out for guys running at me. Being a smaller guy has helped get me to where I am today.?


?He was always a really good player, he was just very, very small. And unfortunately for him, that keeps people away sometimes until you grow. But there?s a lot of examples right now that are elite hockey IQ defensemen, and that?s what he is,? Barr said. ?At our level, he?s a dynamic player, and I think you?ll see more and more players like him make it at the next level. When he committed to us he was about 5-foot-5, so he has grown.?


The more UMass head coach Greg Carvel watched Jones play (and the more he has coached him), the faster he learned size isn?t going to hold Jones back.


?He?s not a tiny kid, he just doesn?t play a physical brand of hockey. There aren?t that many huge, huge kids anymore. He doesn?t get overpowered,? Carvel said. ?I don?t think his size has really been a factor. He has made great strides in his first semester as a freshman. It?s just a matter of working on his details. He?s working in the weight room to get stronger, and he?s going to be a real good player.?


Though associate head coach Jared DeMichiel was optimistic Jones would transition to the college game as a freshman, he didn?t expect it to happen as quickly as it did.


?He?s an elite offensive defenseman. Offensively, at the offensive blue line, he?s very quick twitch, he can change directions fast and separate from defenders, he?s very good at getting puck to the net and changing the shooting angle, and he?s got poise back there,? DeMichiel said.


?You can run at him a million miles an hour and he?ll just see right through you.?


Link: https://theathletic.com/1488505/2019/12/28/how-rangers-prospect-zac-jones-worked-his-way-from-virginia-to-center-stage-at-the-world-juniors/?source=shared-article

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