John Sahly of the Daily Chronicle reports that Northern Illinois landed its second recruit for the class of 2010 in point guard Kyree Jones. Jones will come to DeKalb via North Carolina Tech Prep School but is originally from central Indiana. He has attended 5 different schools in the last 5 years, always a red-flag for any prospect.
Jones was once a highly ranked guard prospect who was being recruited by several high-major schools. By the end of his senior year, most of those schools were scared off by the fact that Jones bounced around from school to school and that he was known for having an attitude problem on the court. In the end, Jones passed up on scholarship offers from George Mason, Kent State, IUPUI and Texas Southern to attend prep school in North Carolina. Jones is not listed on the basketball roster that is posted on the North Carolina Tech Prep School.
For what reasons did he choose Northern Illinois over a hose of other schools?
"I try to idolize my game after Chauncey Billups," Jones said. "[Patton] was like, 'Well, I coached him (at Colorado).' I thought that's crazy. That's huge for me. I like hearing that."
Almost sounds like Jones fell right on to our laps. Funny how that works out sometimes.
How big was his legend starting to grow? Pac-10 big:
"The person I work out with in the summer is [former Indianapolis Pacer] Fred Jones," Jones said. "I talked with him [Saturday]. He's trying to get me to go to Oregon. He talked to the coach (Ernie Kent). They offered me. I told him I had already committed to Northern. He was shell shocked. I just felt like Oregon was unstable. I wasn't too worried about that at Northern."
Oregon head coach Ernie Kent is probably reaching the end of his Ducks career as the team continues to struggle for its second year in a row, but the end may also be near for coach Ricardo Patton if things in DeKalb don't turn around quickly, so I guess he decided to pick the least unstable program. And for all that hype about Patton having recruited the amazing total of 2 future NBA players while at the helm of a major conference school, hopefully it will finally pay off.
So, have we recruited a future NBA draft pick or just another problem-child who will further Patton's failure in DeKalb?
It will all depend on Patton himself. From all I was able to gather, Jones is a good high-major prospect who has a diva attitude that will hamper his chances of ever fulfilling his true potential. It will be Patton's job to teach Jones how to become a team player and to keep his attitude in check.
Even though Jones is a great shooter and scorer who is not afraid to take the tough shots when his team needs it, he has also been known to lose focus and become frustrated when things are not going his way. Once again, it will be Patton's job to try to correct that.
This kid should be able to give us a measuring stick of how well Coach Patton can develop his players. Here is a player that has the ability to be a good division I prospect on paper, but may not necessarily have the attitude. If Patton can mold Jones into a team player and help him buy into his role in this program, the Huskies may have found themselves a steal. Otherwise, we may just be another stop in Jones' traveling circus.
What's the story with Jones' constantly changing high schools?
Jones started out at Bloomington South in Bloomington, Indiana, before transferring to Julian High School on the south side of Chicago to live with his father Kevin, who was the head coach at Chicago State. During that year at Julian, Jones was considered one of the top sophomore guards in the Chicago area.
After his father was fired from Chicago State following his sophomore year, Jones moved back to Indiana to attend basketball powerhouse Lawrence North, the same high school that has produced former NBA lottery picks Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. Towards the end of a disappointing season, Jones and North's legendary head coach Jack Keefer started to bump heads. After losing in the state tourney, Jones and Keefer had a meeting in which Keefer informed Jones that he was not the right fit for the program and would not be welcomed back to team for his senior year.
After finding out he would not be able to play basketball his senior year, Jones then tried to transfer to Arlington high school, which happened to be in the same sectional as Lawrence North. Lawrence North protested the transfer, which was denied by the Indiana High School Athletic Association after an investigation on the case. After being ruled ineligible to play in the state of Indiana, Jones decided to move to Houston, where his father is now a coach around the area.