Matt Jones Ready For CTC

Among the capacity crowd in attendance for this year's Countdown to Craziness will be a pair of Texas high major recruits. Rasheed Sulaimon has already committed, while Matt Jones will be making an unofficial visit. TDD spoke with Jones for an update.

Can you describe what it was like during the open contact period for a high major recruit?

Matt Jones: It's real cool and very exciting. There were some coaches that I knew were coming in and some that I didn't. It's real cool knowing that coaches are coming to see you play, and it lets me know they are looking real hard at what I can do on the court.

Which programs did you know were coming in? What did they say prior to making the trips?

I knew that Coach Drew from Baylor was going to be coming, and I knew that the coaches from Duke were coming which was cool, and I knew that the Arkansas coaches were coming through too.

Who showed up that surprised you?

Well, Ohio State showed up, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, they all came through to see me.

How much communication did you have with the coaches when they showed up?

A lot of my communication came from the coaches who asked me to call them so we could talk more. I couldn't really do a whole lot of talking with them while they were at the gym.

What is your reaction when you see so many coaches coming in to watch you play?

I really like it and it makes me even more focused and keeps me playing real hard because I know I have to prove people wrong.

What is there to prove people wrong about? You're considered one of the top players in the class.

I think it's because of how much hard work goes into even getting to that point. I mean, when I was young, nobody wanted me. I wasn't anybody's 1st, 2nd or 3rd option when picking teams, so I just made up my mind that I was going to work hard to become a better player and help people see that I could make a contribution as well.

What's it like for you then now that you are the first option for many teams at shooting guard?

It's really cool and I like it a great deal, but at the same time, I'm just a high school player, I haven't done anything yet, so I try to take the attention and praise with a grain of salt.

Your twitter account postings show a deep faith in God, Matt. I was wondering how your faith affects you as a basketball player?

It affects me a lot, when I'm on the court, I try to give my absolute best effort because I know that it makes God proud for Him to see me play hard with the gifts and abilities He's given to me. It changes the way I play defense, it makes me focused on getting stops, helping my teammates out, I just try to glorify God through my attitude and play on the court.

Where did that desire come from? Was that always your deal or did somebody inspire you to have that attitude?

I've had some very influential people in my life and they all have told me that living for God is the most important thing you can do in life, so their attitude rubbed off on me when I was younger and now I've taken a hold of it for myself.

Let's talk about some of the schools you mentioned who stopped by your school to see you play. What are your feelings on Ohio State as a program?

They just started recruiting me about a month ago and I've already talked with Coach Matta once and I'm actually going to be talking with him again tonight after our interview. I like them a lot, they are always at the top as a program from what they have been telling me and their guards have done well recently with guys like Jon Diebler and William Buford, they've had a lot of success in shooting the ball.

Do you identify them, or any other school as a 'big man' program?

I think that, yeah, they have had some big men go pro like Greg Oden and other guys, but at the same time, they have had good guards in the program, they are a good school.

Ok, let's talk Florida. They've been recruiting you for awhile, what has Coach Donovan and the staff been saying to you recently?

They've been talking with me a lot about how they can utilize me as a player and what he can do for me as a player and helping me develop.

Something that comes up a lot in talking with other high school players is their awareness of who is playing at their position currently and who may be there in the future, what are your thoughts on Florida and the guards that they have in the program?

Well, I do know that they have a good amount of guards with guys like Kenny Boynton and Rosario and others, and that's a question that I am actually asking them is what does he plan to do with all those guards?

So is guard depth a concern for you?

Maybe a little bit. I know that they like to shoot a lot of threes and they have similar type players to me, and Coach Donovan has told me that he has a plan on how he's using those players and I know he'd have a plan for me if I were to go there, they are a really good school.

Duke is another school that gets mentioned with you a lot. And, like Florida, they have a lot of guards...

With Duke and Coach K, he absolutely knows what he's doing, so I trust him a lot. He's compared me a little bit to Seth Curry and some of the things he does on the court and I like how they play. I could see myself for sure playing for Coach K, I mean, who wouldn't want to play for the man who coached Kobe and LeBron with Team USA ?

I know that Rasheed Sulaimon is a good friend of yours. Have you thought much about the opportunity to play with him at Duke if you decide to go there?

Yeah, I really like playing with him and if I went there and got a chance to play with him, that'd be real cool. I got to play with Rasheed this past summer up in Portland and I really loved it, it was good seeing how hard he practices.

Do you feel like you guys are complementary to each other on the court?

Yeah, I think we can both shoot it, we both play really hard on defense, we could play off each other real well.

You mentioned recently that you were adding North Carolina to your list, how did they earn that spot with you?

I think with UNC, I do have interest with them. They have a good tradition and they have a Hall of Fame coach in Coach Williams. I think I'd fit in pretty well with their program, I'd probably do some things like what Wayne Ellington did when he was playing there if I chose to go there.

Have you thought about their game on the Carrier this year?

Yeah, that's real good, getting the opportunity to do that kind of thing. It just shows you how highly they are regarded as a program to have a special game like that setup for them to play on.

What are your impressions of the way Coach Williams uses his guards?

Well, they run a different type of system than other schools but I feel like I'd fit in just fine with them.

You sound like you compare yourself quite a bit to past guards, is that a way you reference things when evaluating coaches?

Yeah, I am going to compare myself to players that these schools have had to see if they have had guys like me in their program before and how they used them.

Are there any other specific players that you think are really similar to how you play and what you are hoping to accomplish on the court?

Definitely. I look at Duke and how they had JJ Redick. I mean, he was a great college player and it was cool seeing how he got to play at Duke. It's real cool thinking about the opportunity of possibly playing for Coach K, I mean, I got nervous the first couple of times that I talked with him just knowing how great a coach that he is, but now I'm getting even more comfortable with him and he's got the history of developing guards like me.

Duke's your next visit right, how much are they telling you about what they have planned for when you come this week?

They told me that the atmosphere is going to be real live. All the fans are going to be out for their Countdown to Craziness and I'm real excited to get over there. I'm going to go up on Friday and stay through until Saturday afternoon probably and then head over to UNC for a little visit. I heard that Duke is going to have player skits and different skill games and it's all about the players and fans having fun.

Who's going to be going with you?>

I think my high school coach might come with me and I know that Rasheed is going to be there too. I actually think I'm going to be staying with Rasheed potentially and he told me it's real cool when you get a chance to take a visit to Duke. He said it's good I'm getting a chance to see a practice, he said they are real intense but that it makes you get better as a player. I'm just really looking forward to the visit, can't wait to see everything.

Do you have any other visits lined up after this?

I'm not real sure when it comes to other visits, I mean, I'm still wide open, but if I feel like I have a good situation for me somewhere, I might just go ahead and commit, but I don't have a timetable you know ?

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