Ellettsville, Ind. – Eshaunte Jones trip from Ft. Wayne to Bloomington comes with a one-year detour.
The 6-3, 170-pound senior from Ft. Wayne's Northside H.S. has already verbally committed to Indiana, but will spend the upcoming season at Hargrave Military Academy. Hargrave is a Virginia-based prep school that will give him an opportunity to shore up his game as well as get his academics in order.
"I heard so much about being a good program," Jones said. "A couple of the coaches from IU suggested I go there, and that's why I picked it."
While priority one will be to do what he needs to do to get himself qualified to enroll at IU in the fall of 2008, Hargrave will also offer him the opportunity to play against Division I caliber talent on a daily basis. Coach Kevin Keatts' program is considered one of the top prep schools in the country and generally has a roster littered with players destined for major college basketball.
Jones said he doesn't know who else will be at Hargrave in the fall, but he's well aware of what a season there can do for his game in preparation for IU.
"I think that's going to be great," Jones said. "Coach Keatts is a great coach all around."
Before he heads to Hargrave at the end of August, Jones is spending the spring and summer months playing on the Indiana All-Star team as well as playing on the AAU circuit. He'll wrap up his Indiana All-Star obligations this weekend, when the Indiana team looks for a second straight win over Kentucky on Saturday night at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Jones has played a reserve role with the All-Stars, but is well aware of the fact he'll play an important role at Hargrave next year. He arrives after averaging 27.7 points per game, which ranked third in the state behind Eric Gordon and DeShaun Thomas.
"Coach Keatts has said he just wants me to come there and play my game," Jones said. "That's what I want to do – go somewhere I can keep my style of play, but hopefully get better at it. That's why I picked Hargrave."
Jones' style has been one that relies a great deal on a very good perimeter shot. Jones made 124 field goals as a senior, 97 of which came from behind the 3-point arc. His 41.6 percent success rate (97-of-233) from long-range was 14th-best in the state.
He'll likely want to add some additional weapons to his offensive arsenal, and that will become more possible as he gets bigger. He's a rangy 170 pounds right now, and adding some size is a priority for the upcoming season.
"I need to get stronger, and hopefully that will help make my game better," Jones said. "I'll do that and just keep evaluating my game and working hard, trying to get better."
Jones is well aware of what a season at Hargrave has done for a couple of future teammates. IU sophomore-to-be Armon Bassett used a year in Keatts' program to prepare for a very solid freshman campaign last fall, and incoming freshman Jordan Crawford used a season at the prep school to work on his point guard skills in preparation for coming to Bloomington.
"(Armon) said it's a great, great situation there," Jones said. "He said to go there and get it done, and that's what I'm planning to do."
Once he does that, he expects to make a return trip to Indiana to play for the Hoosiers. He said the plan is for him to sign in the fall, making him a member of IU's 2008 class that will also include recent-commit Devin Ebanks as well as Bud Mackey.
"I'm anxious to get there," Jones said. "Coach Samposn, he's a defensive coach, and that's somwehitng I need to work on. That's why I picked Indiana, and hopefully everything will go right."
Jones Set To Head to Hargrave
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