Two weeks ago, Mount Vernon rode Coburn and junior power forward Kevin Jones to the championship of the Bojangles Shootout in Charlotte, N.C. The 6-foot-6 Jones stuffed the stat sheet with blocks, buckets and boards.
Jones' approach to this season has been to show recruiters more of a versatile game. At 6-foot-6 his college position has not yet been defined, though he's working on game planning for two scenarios: will he get bigger and become four man or will he develop his skills into a small forward?
"Last spring and summer helped me because I worked hard in the off season on my weaknesses, my driving ability and my handle," Jones said. "It got me prepared. I might have people on me in the post and I might have to take them to the outside so I had to work on that.
"I feel as though if I stop growing I'll have to work more on my ball handling and getting to the rim. At this level right now I have to work more on my post moves because I'm the tallest man out there. If I grow anymore that'll be a plus."
One area he excels is rebounding and outlet passing. Jones has a nose for the ball and will go out of his area for boards. Then, with a deft touch, he'll get a hit ahead to the guard on the break and the next thing you know Mount Vernon's offense is clicking for easy hoops.
"We work on (outlet passing) a little bit but it's a natural instinct to look for my point guards and if they're not open I try to take it up myself," Jones said.
From a recruiting perspective, things are falling into place for Jones. Some schools are looking while others are stepping up and offering. "Kentucky has been coming after me. They offered. UMass and Rutgers offered but I don't want to leave anybody out. Indiana has offered me. There's a bunch of schools that talked to my brother and he tells me when I can go up there on unofficials."
Gerard Jones, Kevin's brother, is an intermediary who is helping the forward sort through the process. His presence, according to Kevin, has helped take some of the pressure off and allowed him to focus on ball.
"We had a situation before where we got word from an assistant and a head coach would say ‘yeah, we have intentions on offering him in the future' but that's not an offer," Gerard Jones said as he described a situation. "Tubby Smith called me on New Year's Day to offer Kevin. He actually flew up. Those are offers that we consider (offers). Memphis flew out to see us."
Big East programs – St. John's, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville – are in the process of evaluating him. IU and Penn State from the Big Ten really like him as well. Connecticut and Syracuse are watching to see how his season goes. Massachusetts has been consistent in their pursuit. Memphis has been a handful of games this season as well.
The big question for college recruiters in regards to Jones is position. The more time they have to evaluate him, project him into their program, the better. He's a classic "tweener" and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It just means some programs may need that extra look to envision how he'll fit into their program.
Meanwhile, Jones is out there stuffing the stat sheets. Last week, in a rivalry win over White Plains, Jones hit them up for 19 points and 9 rebounds.