Jones Joins Forces With Panthers

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Mike Jones scored a quick 16 points Saturday afternoon to help the Long Island Panthers to a blowout win over Capitol Athletic Club here at the Charlie Weber Invitational. Then he gave his ironclad list of five schools.

"Maryland, UConn, Boston College, Charlotte and Virginia," he said. "I'm going to make my decision sometime this summer – probably just before my senior year. Definitely before then."

The 6-4 SG from Braintree (MA) Thayer Academy – originally a Boston kid from the Dorchester section of the city – hasn't become a household name in recruiting circles. Not just yet. But he's absolutely one of the nation's elite off-guards.

He demonstrated great form – and great results, too – from three-point territory in Saturday's action at The Pavilion on the Villanova campus. He also got into the lane for layups and runners and tipped in a few offensive rebounds.

No wonder. Jones averaged 16 rebounds per game this past winter for Thayer – from the two slot! – along with his 23 points and four assists a night. He helped Thayer to a 21-7 record.

"Shooting the ball and driving to the hole are my strengths," Jones said. "I need to work on my ball-handling and my defense."

He'll be with Gary Charles' Panthers all summer long. That means a perimeter partnership with big-time forward Charlie Villanueva – a combo that has the potential to be one of the best in all of summer basketball this year.

"In the beginning, I think it's going to be tough," Charles said. "But as time goes on, when they get a feel for each other's games, it's going to be an awesome combination."

Michael Kruse writes for Basketball America and

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