Jones Remains "Very Interested" in IU

After the departure of IU assistant Rob Senderoff rumors circulated that IU was no longer in the running for Kevin Jones, but his brother, Gerard, told HoosierNation.com that's not the case at all - instead, the top-50 forward is still seriously considering IU. Gerard Jones talks about his brother's decision and IU's efforts with him...

Bloomington, Ind. – Doing things the traditional way has IU recruiting target Kevin Jones looking like the atypical one on everyone's recruiting wish list.

With the start of the early signing period now just six days away, the 6-8, 195-pounder from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Jones remains uncommitted, making him one of only six players in Scout.com's top 50 who is still on the board. Unlike a couple of those ahead of him Jones does in fact plan to sign early, he's just taking all of the time allotted before holding a press conference to announce his decision.

While that might seem to make sense, it also makes him the exception instead of the norm.

"Now so many are committing so early, we seem like the odds ones," said Kevin's brother, Gerard, who's been helping his sibling throughout the recruiting process. "But we've done it traditionally – we are looking at all the choices, making a list of pros and cons, and making sure we make the best decision for Kevin."

Gerard said Kevin is taking it "day-by-day" as far as when he'll make a decision, and is committed to doing so before the early signing period comes to a close Nov. 21.

"Eventually, Kevin will sleep on it for a day or two and then go with his gut feeling," Gerard said.

In the meantime, there are plenty of schools – Indiana included - still holding out hope that Jones winds up heading to their respective campus. Gerard said his brother is still considering Indiana, West Virginia, UMass, Pitt, Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John's, along with a couple of "dark horses" that they haven't publicized a great deal.

Other than a potential quick stop by the nearby campuses of Seton Hall and/or St. John's to watch a practice, Gerard said all that's left is to weigh the options and opportunities and come up with the school that will best meet their top two criteria – finding a school where Kevin can be comfortable and one that he can best develop his skills.

Will that be Indiana? A week ago rumors circulated that made it sound unlikely after the resignation of IU assistant coach Rob Senderoff. A native New Yorker, Senderoff had handled Kevin's recruitment and had made him feel comfortable with IU, and his departure had left some thinking the Hoosiers' chances were remote at best.

But Gerard said that isn't the case.

"He's very seriously considering Indiana," Gerard said. "Indiana is right there, one of the schools right at the top of Kevin's list. It will go right down to the wire with them."

While Gerard admits the loss of Senderoff was a big blow, he credited IU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson for immediately assuming the lead with Kevin's recruitment, building a quick bond, and putting his mind at ease about the possibility of playing in Bloomington despite the loss of Senderoff.

"Give credit to Sampson for gaining a rapport with us during that time and actually being able to step in and continue to recruit Kevin as strong as he's been doing," Gerard said. "Coach Ray (McCallum) gives his input also, but it's mostly been Coach Sampson."

Sampson has gone to great lengths to shows the Jones' how Kevin would fit into Indiana's system, one that is expected to have a big hole to fill next season with the expected departure of D.J. White. The Hoosier coach envisions a frontcourt attack that could feature both Jones and '08 commit Devin Ebanks in the near future.

"Coach Sampson basically sees Kevin as a forward," Gerard said. "He wouldn't put a number on Kevin. He doesn't put a number on Devin Ebanks. He basically said he'd run Kevin and Devin at the two forward spots. He made mention of the guards and the five spot, and he would call (Devin and Kevin) his two match-up problems."

As Indiana awaits word from Jones, it knows it's already got one half of that potential frontcourt tandem in place with Ebanks. Gerard said Ebanks talked to Kevin a great deal while both were in Bloomington last month for Hoosier Hysteria, and he suspects they've continued to talk in the weeks since.

"Kevin knows Devin pretty well," Gerard said. "They played on the same AAU circuit together for a while, he played against him and with him as well as at the Elite 24 game…they respect each other a lot as far as their games. They know each other and it's always good to have another New York guy out there because they can bounce things off one another and pick each other up if they get homesick."

While Devin could have an impact on IU's chances with Jones, Sampson will as well. Gerard said he wasn't as familiar with Sampson as many of the other head coaches before last month's official visit, but has since been impressed with the second-year IU coach.

"He's a straight forward guy and says what's on his mind," Gerard said. "He's an energetic guy. He wants to win, and he has that passion and love for the game that you would want out of your coach – the same way a coach would want it out of his player."

Those items have Indiana positioned as a top contender for Jones, although a slew of other schools also remain in the running. Eventually, Jones plans to schedule a press conference to announce his decision and bring his recruitment to an end.

"Doing it that way is going to be a lot easier than having to call so many people and let them know," Gerard said. "At the end of the day we have to make the best decision for Kevin."


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