It would be easy for
to be egotistical.
However, with a future as bright as his, Jones is about as humble as a high school kid can get.
Widely regarded as one of the two best point guards in the Class of 2014, Jones' unselfish attitude on the court and easy-going persona off the court have big-name college basketball coaches lining up to book in-home visits.
Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo and Bill Self have all visited Jones at his family's house in Apple Valley, Minn., trying to land the next great court general.
"He's the same kid every day no matter who is in the gym or who is talking to him. I think he enjoys it," Apple Valley
boys basketball coach Zach Goring said. "He has the maturity level 10 years beyond how old he is. He's a huge, huge college basketball fan, so when we have coaches in our gym or coaches at our game, I'm sure he enjoys that."
But the motives of these coaches are likely two-fold. They know if they can land Jones, who averaged 21.2 points and 7.5 assists per game while leading Apple Valley to a Minnesota Class 4A state title, there's a good chance they can secure the nation's consensus No. 1 junior Jahlil Okafor
The rugged 6-foot-11, 270-pound post from Whitney Young (Chicago)
is Jones' best friend and the two have expressed a strong desire to play together in college.
Jones, who has narrowed his lists of schools to Baylor, Duke, Kansas,
Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State and Minnesota, is candid with
college coaches when it comes to his recruiting request.
"Every school knows that me and Jahlil would like to attend the same school," Jones said.
and Okafor first played against one another in third grade in AAU
nationals. The two didn't really know each other at that point, but when
both players tried out and made the USA Basketball U16 team, their
friendship really started to grow.
"I think we'd be a phenomenal
duo," said Jones about teaming up with Okafor in college. "He's a beast
down low and a phenomenal big man. He has great hands, great feet, very
mobile. Myself, I think, that'd be good to play alongside him just
because I know I can pass the ball and set him up and be able to get him
Even though Jones and Okafor are separated by 400
miles, the two stay in contact most every day, Jones said. The pair
also get to run into one another frequently on weekends since both play
on the nationwide Nike EYBL circuit, Jones with Howard Pulley and Okafor
with Mac Irvin Fire.
Okafor is being
recruited by mostly the same schools as Jones, expect for Okafor has
North Carolina and Louisville on his list and Jones has Minnesota, which
has its campus only about 20 miles from his home.
letting each other have really their own recruiting process," Jones
said. "At the same time, we're still kind of talking with each other on
what schools we have in common and where we think we can go together and
feel like we'll be successful."
Jones plans on playing AAU ball
all summer and then concentrating on his college choice. He's already
scheduled one of his NCAA-allotted five official campus visits, heading
to Baylor along with Okafor at the end of August.
"I would like
to have a decision by (November) so I can just concentrate on my senior
year and have it out of the way," Jones said. "If I'm not ready to make a
decision, then I'm not going to force anything or rush anything because
it's such a huge decision and a very difficult one at that."
One thing that Jones is confident about is that he will play with Okafor at the next level.
"I'd probably say like 99 percent," Jones said. "It's just really something that we've focused on and really want to do."
But if a college coach only lands Jones, he'll program will be in good hands.
He watches a lot of Chris Paul and tries to pattern his game after the Los Angeles Clippers point guard. Jones, who is 6-foot-2, likes how Paul uses his mind and utilizes his body while he plays.
"I really just try to play with poise," Jones said. "Being the point guard, you really have to be under control, be able to lead your teams, so you can't really be out of control or frantic out there. I feel you have to command the game. … I'm really a pass-first point guard. I have no problem making a simple pass. I just like playing the game of basketball the right way."
College coaches seem to love Jones' ability to manage a game and become a coach on the floor.
"He just has complete control of tempo," Goring said. "The thing he does so well is puts his teammates in spots to succeed. He'll get them the ball where they need it so they can score. He also has the ability to take over a game from a scoring standpoint."
The recruiting war for Jones has reached a feverish pitch. He takes the process of selecting a college in stride, soaking it all in and not getting overwhelmed by what he calls a surreal experience. Baylor, Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Ohio State have all made in-home visits.
"It's a great opportunity for myself," Jones said. "I'm very blessed and I can't complain. I'm just taking it slowly and absorbing it all."