Jones picks Runnin’ Rebels

To be frank, Derrick Jones performed inconsistently during the spring and summer, hence the reason he dipped to No. 66 in the Class of 2015. That said, he still projects as one of the country’s best run/jump athletes, and now he has a college destination.

Derrick Jones announced for UNLV this evening over Connecticut and Auburn, among others. The slender, 6-6, 190-pound forward was one of three top prospects — along with Skal Labissiere and Isaiah Briscoe — who was set to announce his decision on ESPNU.

“I’m going to take my talents to UNLV,” Jones said during the broadcast. “When I stepped on campus, it just felt like a family there.”

Jones is a utility player who’s presently a combo forward but could transition to the wing full-time as he matures. Blessed with long arms and outstanding leaping ability, he plays much taller than his height.

The catch for Jones has been that he’s an average shooter and ballhandler. Thus, when on the perimeter he’s less effecting creating and finishing plays. Improving those two areas will be vital for his development.

Still, he makes very effective multi-faceted contributions. He’s an outstanding finisher along the baseline who rises effortlessly, yet explosively for dunks. Jones is a master of the tip-slam and also loves to catch lops. On defense, he swoops over from the weak side to swat shots.

His potential to play on the perimeter owes to the fact that he possesses more of a wing body type and that he should develop into a smothering defender thanks to his quickness and length. As he becomes stronger, he should be able to specialize on defense and high percentage shots as a finisher, making him a valuable starter for the Runnin’ Rebs.

UNLV also holds a pledge from four star guard Jalen Poyser, who should effectively complement Jones. Poyser is a jump shooter who’s less athletic and not as effective scoring on contested attempts, and thus the duo’s strengths and weaknesses appear harmonious. The Rebels will feature freshman stud Rashad Vaughn on the wing this season, but essentially no one expects him to return to college as a sophomore, opening the door to early playing time.

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