2014 Big Man Marlon Likes Illini Visit

The Fighting Illini basketball team is in a constant search for top big men, as are most all colleges. The 2014 class in Illinois has a couple nationally prominent centers, but pickings are slim after them. One up-and-coming prospect visited the Illini campus recently. Marlon Jones has excellent potential, especially if he can add muscle to his slender frame.

Marlon Jones and his 2014 teammate Tyquone Greer visited the Illinois campus in April. The Chicago Orr product left with a positive vibe for the Illini.

"I really enjoyed it. I like the atmosphere of the school. I like the coaching staff, and I like the basketball players. I like how the basketball program works."

He came on a day when members of the current Illinois team were doing individual workouts. That impressed him as well.

"They have individual workouts that fit into their class schedules."

Jones can see himself playing for head coach John Groce and his staff.

"I like the coaches. They have good personalities. I think I could play for them because they understand my game. I fit in with their teams."

The 6'-9" power forward describes his developing game.

"I have a great ability to block shots. I can jump straight up off my feet. I have a good jump shot, and I can put the ball on the floor a little bit. I'm still working on it. And I'm working on a hook shot. If I can use a hook shot, I can get an easy shot every time."

The AAU games he's played have been against players his own age, and he is one of the tallest players in that age group. That will change in the next year or two as he encounters bigger, thicker players in the post. He feels he can compensate despite his slender frame.

"I have a nice face-up game. I have a fade-away shot; every time I shoot it may go in. That's the game I use with people taller than me. It's going to be hard, but I can get used to it."

Jones had to change AAU teams in midseason. He began play this spring with the Chicago Magic, but that couldn't last.

"Yeah, they didn't have enough money for the team. So everybody broke up."

As of early May, he was playing with Meanstreets--Wilburn's 16 and Under team. His first games were in an early May tourney in Fort Wayne. He is having to prove himself all over again, limiting his action.

"These were my first games. I have to get used to their playing style. It's a little confusing at first."

Jones will get up to speed by the July evaluation period. He is even more confident about Orr's chances next winter.

"We're like really good. We've got good chemistry, so I think we're going to win it all this year. I look forward to playing against good teams like Simeon and Whitney Young."


Illini Inquirer Top Stories