“I really want to go to Syracuse.”
– Archbishop Carroll sophomore forward Derrick Jones.
The Orange program, despite it’s frustrating loss in Atlanta, is on a serious roll. SU has had Final Four-caliber teams three times in the last four years. The Melo Center is one of the best facilities in the nation. And top flight recruits are publicly stating their interest in Syracuse, while every other program tries to woo them.
Jones wants to play at the Carrier Dome, and SU listened. The Orange offered him a scholarship last week. Before that Temple, St. Joseph’s, Villanova, Penn State, Rutgers, Xavier and Kansas State all offered him. ESPN has him rated as the 13th best prospect for the Class of ’15. Rivals.com has him as the 37th best player in the country for that class.
Multiple reports raved about Jones’ performance at a Pittsburgh tournament two weeks ago featuring some of the best talent in the country. This is the scouting from collegebasketballtalk.com:
“Perhaps the most promising recruit at the Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest this weekend was Philly native Derrick Jones.
At 6-foot-6, Jones is a supremely athletic left-handed forward with an impressive wingspan, the kind of physical tools that will make any college coach drool. Making him all the more intriguing is that he’s young for his age, having just turned 16.
The good news is that Jones plays hard – he’s really aggressive, and effective, attacking the offensive glass – and wants to get better. You can teach a player to handle the ball and you can develop a kid’s ability to shoot from the perimeter. But you can’t teach athleticism and you can’t make a kid care.”
His father also told Adam Zagoria at SNY.tv that Kentucky is also a favored destination for Jones, but the Wildcats have not offered him yet.
“He’s leaning toward Syracuse and he would love to go to Kentucky. He loves Kentucky and he loves Syracuse. We’ve been talking about Syracuse the most. I think how (SU) plays, the size of their wing plyers, how they’re open to the different changes in the game. Syracuse has a little bit of everything, combo guards, combo forwards.”
CBSSports.com gave this insight into Jones’ dominance:
“It hasn’t really mattered which age group Derrick Jones is playing with so far at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest – he’s been the most talented player on the floor.
The 6-foot-6 Jones has been going back and forth between the 17s and 16s teams in the We R 1 program, but it hasn’t affected his play.
Jones, a 2015 prospect from Archbishop Carroll (Pa.), is one of the best players in the junior class and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he were a five-star player by the end of the spring and summer.
He is a terrific athlete who runs the floor well and finishes at the rim. Jones can handle the ball and makes shots in the mid-range, but is also excellent when going into traffic in the lane. His potential is through the roof at this point.
Given his length, Jones can be a matchup problem – but even he knows he has to put on some muscle.”
Plenty can still change in Jones’ recruitment. If the Wildcats offer him, he may be immediately swayed to join UK. But right now one of the best players in the nation is publicly pining to come to the Orange, and his stock is rising quickly. Not a bad spot to be in.