It took a few days but Verdell Jones, the point guard from Champaign, Ill., has given Indiana his signed letter-of-intent.
His announcement on Monday that he would join the Hoosiers’ class of 2008 came as a bit of a surprise because Tom Crean had seemingly jumped into Jones’ recruitment late.
However, Jones had a long relationship with Crean’s top assistant, Tim Buckley. It was Buckley who first started recruiting Jones a few years ago when he was Steve Alford’s assistant at Iowa, and he kept in touch with Jones when he went to Marquette.
Here’s a release from Indiana on Jones’ signing. It includes quotes from Crean.
Bloomington, Indiana–Indiana University menâ€™s basketball coach Tom Crean
has announced that Verdell Jones III, a 6-4, 180-lb. guard from Champaign
(Illinois) Central High School has signed a national letter of intent to
attend IU and play basketball for the Hoosiers beginning next fall. He was
the Champaign News-Gazette Area Player of the Year and an All-State choice
as a senior.
â€œVerdell is an excellent addition to our recruiting class,â€ said Crean. â€œHe
is a great floor leader with a tremendous ability to direct an offense and
he also has the ability to make plays on his own. His wingspan will make
him a tough defender and we like the fact that he has played in so many
big-game environments in high school and AAU ball that he will be able to
compete for our program right away. We are very excited about his upside.â€
A three-year starter as a prep, he averaged 17.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and
6.5 assists for Coach Scott Davis as a senior and led the Maroons to the
Class 3A semifinals as they fell to two-time defending champ Chicago Simeon
51-46. He was named to the Associated Press Class 3A All-State first team
after leading his squad to a 25-8 mark and a third-place finish in the Class
AAA Tournament. He shot 46.8% from the field, 31% from three-point range and
75.3% from the free throw line. He finished his career with 602 assists,
ranking him sixth on the state of Illinoisâ€™ all-time list. As a junior, he
averaged 18.6 points, nine assists and four rebounds and earned All-Area and
He chose Indiana over Kentucky, Arizona and Minnesota. He also once earned
national acclaim as an eighth grader for making an 80-foot shot in helping
his middle school to an eighth grade state title.
He is the fifth player to accept a scholarship to play for the Hoosiers
joining forward Tom Pritchard (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edwards), guard Matt Roth
(Washington, Illinois), guard Devan Dumes (Vincennes/Indianapolis) and guard
Nick Williams (Mobile, Alabama/LeFlore). He faced Rothâ€™s Washington squad
in the third place game at the Illinois State Championships and also played
against Williamsâ€™ LeFlore squad in a regular season tournament in Missouri.
He played his AAU ball for Ft. Sooy No Limit where he was coached by his
father, Verdell Jones, Jr. ESPN.com had him ranked 28th among senior point
guards nationally, while Scout.com ranked him as the 30th. He was rated as
the 127th best prospect overall in the country.