Derrick Jones could be the third player to join Syracuse’s already impressive 2015 recruiting class. The 6’6” small forward has generated a lot of interest around college basketball. Jones has drawn significant interest from schools like Indiana, Kansas, and Kentucky, in addition to Syracuse, but many believe that the Orange is the favorite to land the 5-star recruit.
Jones visited Syracuse for the Orange Elite Camp last summer and saw the Melo Center and the SU campus.
Hailing from Philadelphia, Jones is the top-ranked player out of Pennsylvania. He is the third-best small forward in the class and the fifteenth best player overall, according to 247sports.
The lefty has a lot of length, which makes him a perfect player for coach Boeheim’s zone defense. He also has the ability to fly high above the rim. Overall, Jones’ athleticism, length, and versatility are his biggest strengths, three words that describe most Syracuse recruits.
Jones likes to push tempo and run in transition. He likes to drive the lane and tries to get to the hoop to finish, but can also run the baseline on his way to the basket. His finishing ability is impressive. Scouts are already comparing him to Jerami Grant.
Jones, however, needs to improve his jump shooting. As a forward, he will not have to dribble much, but his handling could still use some work. He also needs to grow because at 180 pounds, Jones is extremely slim for a wing.
Syracuse has had plenty of success recruiting from the greater Philadelphia area in the last couple years. Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine and Rakeem Christmas all came from this area, which Boeheim can use as a selling point.
Ultimately, it looks like Kentucky will be the Orange’s biggest competition for Jones. Assuming Coach Calipari doesn’t depart for the NBA (which has been talked about this week), he will try to recruit Jones hard. It’s just another temporary piece to the puzzle for the Wildcats, who lost in the National Championship with a starting lineup of five freshmen.
Jones has said that he wants to attend a school with “a big fan base, lots of fans coming to the games and cheering us on,” so the school that continues setting attendance records seems like a viable choice for Jones.
Look for the Orange to hit the jackpot in the Derrick Jones lottery later this year.
Posted by: Jason Weingold