Jones Enjoys Return Trip to Lawrence

In October, Verdell Jones, Jr. and his family loaded up the car and made a trip from Champaign, IL to check out Late Night in the Phog. Since then, the 6-2 sophomore point guard at Champaign (IL) Central has been busy leading his team to a 19-2 record while averaging 14 points and seven assists a game.

With Kansas playing a Sunday home game, Verdell Jones and his family made a return trip to Lawrence and took in the Jayhawks come from behind win over Oklahoma.

“We talked to coach Self and he said that we needed to come back out for a game,” Jones father, Verdell, Sr., told Phog.Net. “I asked Verdell if it was something he wanted to do and he said yes.”

Having already experienced Lawrence and Allen Fieldhouse, Jones and his family were interested in seeing how things changed during a game situation.

“When you come to Late Night, everybody is the home team and you expect it to be raucous,” said the elder Jones. “To see how the crowd reacted and how they supported their team when everything wasn’t going their way was interesting. They definitely have that home court advantage.”

Because of his position as director of the Ft. Sooy No Limit program, Jones has had the chance to coach some great players. Among those who have learned under his tutelage are players like Shaun Livingston, Brian Randle, Richard McBride, and Justin Cerasoli among others.

Now that he’s coaching his son, Jones is using lessons that he’s learned along the way to help guide his son towards making a good decision. With programs like Kansas, Illinois, Arizona, Louisville, Kentucky, Oregon, Iowa State, Texas A&M, DePaul, Virginia, UCLA, St. John’s and several others showing early attention, the younger Jones recruitment is only in the infancy stages and he’s far from narrowing his list down to a more manageable group of favorites. In addition to Kansas, he’s visited Illinois and Louisville and may take a trip to DePaul this weekend.

“He’s only a sophomore and he’s young so it is a work in progress for us,” said Jones, Sr. “We’re trying to get him to be more cerebral and to analyze things. His mother and I are trying to do as much as we can now to prepare him. Then when it comes time to make a decision he’ll be more ready.”

While he may not be ready to make a college decision, Jones is certainly proving more than ready on the court. He’s a gifted ball handler, has a nice pull-up game, involves his teammates and does all of it in an under control, but crowd pleasing, fashion. Add in his slender frame and young face and the comparisons to Shaun Livingston have been unavoidable.

His father is quick to point out that Verdell is his own player, but at the same time he sees a comparison to such a talented young point guard as a nice compliment.

“It’s very flattering to be compared to somebody like Shaun,” Jones, Sr. said. “He just has to take it as a nice compliment and keep working hard.”

With the Illinois state playoffs fast approaching, Jones will be looking to focus on finishing his sophomore campaign strong before hitting the summer circuit. However, it appears that the mid season trip to Lawrence was anything but a wasted trip.

“The environment, the atmosphere, he was really impressed with the history and even the new hall of fame. Those are all things that we looked at,” said Jones, Sr. “How can you not be impressed?”


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