Verdell Jones Sets the Record Straight

Verdell Jones is a 6-4 PG that has unbelievable skills, skills he displayed first-hand in Moline, Illinois. InsideIllini.com was there to witness Jones' performance along with another Big Ten coach. Read here for more on Jones and his comments on being a lock for another school.

Too many times it's been said that the 6-4 guard from Champaign (IL) was a lock for Kansas, so why should others even waste their time with Jones. "No, that's a lie. I don't know where that came from or who started it. I like all the schools that are recruiting me, but that's not true." When asked about it, Jones laughed. He's heard it too many times and truly, it gets old for this youngster.

"No one school has stood out more than others at this point. I mean, I can't lie, I really like Illinois. I grew up watching them, but at the same time I have received a lot of interest from Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee and Arizona," said Jones.

Just yesterday the Illini received a verbal commitment from Quinton Watkins from Compton, CA, which is a long way from Champaign, something Jones can't seem to figure out himself. "I really don't get why the top players in the State of Illinois leave. It just doesn't make sense. Coach Weber is a great coach. They have great assistant coaches and great facilities so, no, I really don't get that."

Being an Illinois native and from Champaign, Jones admitted there can be a little pressure but nothing he can't handle. "From a national standpoint I'm starting to make a name for myself. I know a lot of people want to see me play for Illinois and I understand that. I'm just used to coaches coming and watching. Most times athletes are expected to do well and oftentimes they hold us to a higher standard. It all comes with being a high-profile player," Jones said.

Sitting in the stands watching Jones was Iowa's Steve Alford and his father Sam. Jones finished the game with 17 points and 10 assists. When I walked in the gym most Champaign fans told me that when I watch him play he's going to remind me of a younger version of current NBA player Shaun Livingston. Even though Jones is a junior he has all the passing skills that Livingston has. Alford, along with two other major D-I schools that were in attendance, had to come away impressed. There have been too many times I've gone to see a "star" athlete and came away somewhat disappointed because of their effort. That was not the case with Jones. During the second quarter he picked up his second foul and was very upset about it, not because he got the foul but because he knew a lot of people were there to see him play. His ability to run a team and pass the way he does at his age is a true asset to the game today.

With his own games and practices it's very hard for Jones to get to Illinois games but he tries. "I do my best, but it's the heart of the season and it's hard even with me being so close to the school," he added.

Jones is a four-star recruit and listed here by Scout.com as the nation's eighth best PG.


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