Feature photo courtesy of Taylor Tyner.
Update (2/15/16): Reggie Jones has committed to the University of New Orleans.
Going through three knee surgeries in a high school basketball career would be devastating for anyone. Most players would give up on the dream of playing college basketball. Reggie Jones is not like most players.
The 6-foot-5 small forward from Marion, Indiana has dealt with plenty of injuries so far in his basketball career; it may be the biggest reason why he currently holds only one Division I college basketball offer from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“I always feel like I’ve been overlooked,” Jones said. “I think a lot of schools are waiting it out because this is really my first healthy season since my sophomore year.”
He does, however, have interest from many other programs including New Orleans, IUPUI, Arizona State, and Purdue.
Jones has received help from several people throughout his recruiting process, but few have been as influential as his uncle, Julius Mays. Mays played at North Carolina State, Wright State, and Kentucky in his four years of college basketball.
“He had a rough college experience, so he is just helping me make my decision,” Jones said about Mays. “He is telling me to not make my decision too soon like he did, and he has helped me by asking the coaches questions.”
Another person who helped Jones immensely during this process is his coach at Marion High School, James Blackmon, Sr., who also played his college basketball at Kentucky. Blackmon was then drafted in the fifth round of the 1987 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets.
“He’s been everywhere I’m trying to go so I’m just letting him lead me,” Jones said about Coach Blackmon.
When asked where he wants to play college basketball, Jones had some ideas about what he wants out of his experience at the next level.
“I just want to go somewhere where I can go in and play right away,” Jones said. “I want to go somewhere where I can make a change in the program.”
Once Jones does get to the college game, he knows what he can contribute right away, but he also knows what he needs to work on to really help his team.
“[The best part of my game is] getting to the basket and getting my teammates involved,” Jones said “But there’s also room to improve. I need to work on my defense and my perimeter shooting.”
Jones has shown his skills so far during his senior season at Marion. Through 14 games, he is averaging 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 3.5 steals per game, and has recorded two triple-doubles. Jones knows how important his play is this season.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries over the years, and I just feel like this year I have something to prove,” Jones said about his senior season.
Coming into this season, Jones had to prove that he is ready for college basketball. He has done that and more, and it’s just a matter of time before the real offers start pouring in.
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