Phil Jones is keeping IU Coach Kelvin Sampson from closing the book on his first IU recruiting class.
A week ago, Sampson said the Hoosiers' 2006 recruiting class was likely completed with the signing of a pair of junior college forwards this spring. He indicated, though, there were still a couple of "irons in the fire," that could pan out before the start of the 2006-07 campaign.
The 6-10 1/2 , 245-pound Jones is one of those irons, having made an official visit to Bloomington last weekend. Indications are the Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute big man is well worth waiting for as well.
"He's a really good scorer," said Laurinburg Institute Coach Billy Reid. "He has a very good court presence. He can do it all – he's an inside-outside guy. He can score on the low block and can score outside as well."
Jones, who averaged 16 points and eight rebounds this past season, is the 15th-ranked center in the 2006 class according to Scout.com. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Jones is undoubtedly one of the best players still available in the class, which has a trio of elite programs battling for a commitment.
Reid said Jones' decision will likely come down to Indiana, Kentucky and Cincinnati. Jones has already made visits to IU and Cincinnati and he is expected to visit the Wildcat program the weekend of May 26-28. A decision should come soon after the visit to Lexington.
The visit to Bloomington, meanwhile, was a big success according to Reid.
"He said it went well – real well," said Reid. "He enjoyed himself. He felt a part of what they're trying to do there. He was pretty much sold after the visit. He enjoyed it a lot, enjoyed the guys, the coaching staff , he got to spend time with D.J. White – he liked every aspect of the visit."
Indiana's spring recruiting efforts have been focused squarely on addressing some needs on the frontline. With the graduation of Sean Kline and the departure of Cem Dinc, Indiana returns only two players that stand 6-8 or taller – D.J. White and Ben Allen. The additions of 6-6 Xavier Keeling, 6-6 Mike White and 6-8 Lance Stemler will help in that area, but adding someone with Jones' size and skill will give Sampson a bona fide center who can physically match-up with any big man on the Hoosiers' 2006-07 schedule.
That opportunity for immediate playing time is important to Jones, according to Reid.
"Any of the three places, he'd play a lot," Reid said. "All the schools he's visited are emphasizing that he'd play a lot, so he could go in and play right away, and that's what he wants. He wants to be able to get on the floor right away."
Jones Likely Down To Three
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