Curtis Jones: Junior Primer

Virginia has produced numerous high-major guards in recent seasons, and Curtis Jones appears ready to make his own way.

How he got here

At a late summer HoopGroup event in 2013, rising sophomore Curtis Jones emerged as an athletic and high-scoring combo guard. He competed for Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI in 2013-14 and further impressed with his quickness and natural scoring tools.

Even prior to the calendar flipping the page to 2014, Jones claimed offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, VCU, West Virginia and others. It was evident immediately that he’d have myriad major conference choices, and that number has grown since then.

Jones also began to make something of a positional shift during that spring and summer. Playing with Team Loaded VA on the Adidas circuit, he evolved from a pure wing into a 6-2 combo guard. While the distinction may sound small, the fact that he could play on the ball in spots gives him even more value to college programs.

His time on the Adidas circuit served him well. Playing with Thon Maker and others for one of the league’s best squads, Jones finished second for the team in scoring, averaging 11 points per game. He didn’t shoot a great percentage but performed aggressively despite playing up a year in class.

His junior year has been a breakthrough for Jones

Jones made another school change for 2014-15. This season, he’s suiting up for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, always a talented crew and one that has put Jones face to face versus national competition. He responded well to the challenge when I observed him last fall, and he said his offer list now also includes Indiana, Missouri, Wake Forest and Maryland.

According to TerrapinTimes writer Dave Lomonico, as of last week Jones was averaging 17 points per game and shooting over 50 percent on threes. I entered the fall wondering about his jump shot myself, but he has answered the call for improvement after converting only 32 percent of his long bombs last summer.

To 2015. …

Jones is a proven scorer. While not as prolific as some of the guys atop the class, he’s highly effective scoring on short jumpers and, as his junior season indicates, is becoming more dangerous from long-range as well.

From a physical standpoint, he’ll need to get much stronger for both offense and defense, but obviously he has time. Thinking ahead, there remains no consensus whether Jones is best suited for a combo role or strictly playing on the wing. In terms of quickness and ballhandling he looks like a combo, but some may view any playmaking duties as a threat to the thing — scoring — he does best.

Still, he’s actually playing point guard for Huntington, so increasingly that’s the direction it appears his recruitment will go. In fact, at some point we may need to change him to a PG/SG, if he continues to progress at his current rate.

He has taken unofficial visits to VCU, Ohio State, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky, so clearly he’s taking steps in his recruitment as well. As such, he could end up deciding earlier than other 2016 prospects. Time will tell.

For now, Jones ranks an impressive No. 43 nationally and doesn’t appear to be in any danger of dropping anytime soon.

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