Jones Focuses On SEC Power

Phil Jones says he's got himself a leader. The rebuilt center out of Laurinburg Prep by way of New York City has his eyes on an SEC program.

He's come a long way since the summer. Phil Jones, the 6-foot-10 ½ center out of Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina, dedicated himself to slimming down last fall and the results have been amazing.'s No. 12 post-graduate player said that he's where he wants to be weight-wise, down from 270+ last summer.

"I've been dedicated, trying to lose weight and stay in shape," Jones said. "The last time I weighed myself I was like 245-247. Right now I'm at the weight where I want to be and I just have to lift weights and add 10 pounds of muscle and I'll be straight.

"I always wanted to lose weight, I just never got dedicated. When I came to Laurinburg Coach Reed told me that in order to eventually make money at this sport you have to be able to run. So, every Saturday or Sunday we'd get up and run a few miles. Now I do that everyday and I keep it off."

During the process of shedding the pounds and impressing recruiters with his ability to score in the post, Jones set about the business of early a scholarship. Currently, he says he holds offers from Kentucky, Connecticut, Clemson, Miami, Marquette and Providence.

However, a leader has emerged and Jones plans to visit one SEC power after the NCAA Tournament.

"Kentucky is definitely in the lead," Jones said. "After talking to Coach Tubby Smith, it seems like the right situation for me and that's my dream school. Hopefully I'll make the right decision to choose Kentucky. That's where I want to go but I'm still going through the process and I'll discuss everything with my family."

The rest of the schools have to catch – and pass – the Wildcats in order to secure the services of a big man with a deft touch inside.

"I keep it, in New York slang, real with every school that calls me," Jones said. "They know its Kentucky in the lead."

Jones, who last talked to Smith "five days ago", said that UK could be caught but it would take a big time effort. "Yeah, they can (be caught) but it would take something for me to just change my mind."

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