2008 Focus: Verdell Jones

In this report WeAreDePaul.com's Dan Stack talks with Illinois Class of 2008 point guard prospect Verdell Jones III. Jones, from Champaign Central high school, ranks among the best point guards in that state of Illinois. Stack talks with Jones straight off his performance at the 2006 Reebok ABCD Camp in Teaneck, New Jersey.

When it comes to recruiting, an old addage frequently comes up in that you can never have too many guards, particularly point guards. For DePaul Blue Demons head coach Jerry Wainwright that can not be more true. He successfully landed Will Walker in his first year on the job. And this summer he is making a push with many other coaches for point guard phenoms Derrick Rose and Chris Wright among other point guards. Whether or not Wainwright misses the boat with Rose or Wright, he should look into the 2008 class for a gem from downstate Illinois.

His name is Verdell Jones. Jones is a 6-2 point guard from Champaign, Illinois whose stock is rapidly improving. While at the recently completed 2006 Reebok ABCD camp, Jones stood out making the Underclassmen All-Star game. He made big plays down the stretch in that game as well as icing the game with two big free throws to put the game out of reach.

Jones has tremendous poise with the ball and can see the floor extremely well from anywhere on the court. He can either dish it to the open man, attack the rim, or settle for the jump shot.

"I can score if I have to, but I can also distribute the ball and get guys open. That's probably what I do best," Jones said in reference to his game.

His game is fluid and he is not afraid of contact despite the slender frame he possesses. Jones concedes this much, "I think my weakness, (is) my strength, I'm thin. I have a little trouble guarding shorter guys under 6 feet."

Jones' slender physique has drawn some unfair comparisons to Los Angeles Clipper and former Peoria Central star Shaun Livingston.

"I understand (it)," said Jones. "We look alike. Were long, lanky, and we play similar. But that's a big reason why I come to camps like this (ABCD) and make my (own) name. I want them to say that's Verdell Jones, he has his own game."

He does indeed have his own game. His game is taking shape and so is his list of college suitors. "I took a visit to Illinois, I mean I'm living in Illinois (Champaign) so I visit Illinois all the time. I took a few visits to Kansas. I took a visit to Florida, Louisville. I'm hoping to see DePaul some time in the following winter," Verdell remarked on what schools he has interest in.

Jones like what he sees in DePaul. "I think they are real good. They are an up and down team, that fits my game perfectly. I like to push the ball and get up and down." The thinking in some circles though is if Illinois or Kansas have strong interest they may be tough to beat out.

However, the thing that may work in DePaul's favor in the recruitment of Jones is DePaul's current interest in his AAU backcourt teammate Justin Bocot. "That's my guy," Jones said referring to Bocot.

"I think if he goes there, that would be a place I would definitely consider going," Verdell said.

Could DePaul be looking at a package deal? Well it's too early to surmise with Bocot a 2007 recruit and Jones a 2008 recruit. But they love playing with each other on the Ft. Sooy No Limit AAU team. Look for them together in late July in the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament.

Jones may be a 2008 recruit, but he is someone to keep a close eye on because with any added strength, Jones' game can erupt nationally.

Keep it here at WeAreDepaul.com for all the latest news and info as it pertains to the recruitment of Verdell Jones III.

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