Louisville an option for JUCO point guard

One of the top 50 players nationally in the Class of 2011 is now a major target for the University of Louisville and is expecting to make a visit to campus. Cardinal Authority has the latest on recruiting developments.

A native of Memphis, point guard Chris Jones signed with the University of Tennessee out of high school but never made it to Knoxville.

Bruce Pearl was fired and Jones was released. He landed at Northwest Florida State where former Tennessee assistant Steve Forbes, who helped recruit Jones to toe Volunteers, is the head coach.

The 5-foot-10 Jones had a sensational freshman season at the junior college and is now a hot commodity in the recruiting world. Forbes said a bunch of high-major Division I schools are after Jones, including Louisville.

U of L has been on contact for a while but assistant coach Kevin Keatts watched Jones last week at a JUCO showcase event in Aiken, S.C., and the interest picked up.

"It's a option, for sure," Jones said of the Cardinals. "They have been recruiting me for a while and I'm probably going to go visit there. I will know all the places and when I will visit by the time I come back for school (in mid-August)."

He has an offer from Louisville and is also being recruited by Kansas, Marquette, Missouri, Baylor, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida State, Mississippi and Pittsburgh among others.

Jones said he doesn't have a favorite right now, but pointed out he has a connection on the Louisville roster that he "really likes."

He was part of the Tennessee recruiting class with Kevin Ware, who will be a sophomore at U of L this season.

"We met when we committed there and became really good friends," Jones said of his relationship with Ware. "He said that I should come to Louisville."

Jones has some impressive numbers.

He helped guide NW Florida State to a regular-season record of 29-1 and a runner-up finish in the NJCAA DI National Tournament. Jones averaged 18 points, five rebounds and four assists a game and was named the Florida Panhandle Conference Player of the Year honors.

"He's really developed into an all-around point guard," Forbes said. "The most shots he took in a game until the national championship game was 15. He's really become a good distributor. He's just an all-around point guard.

"I have coached some really good point guards in my day. I would be shocked if he can't play in the NBA. I would be shocked."

Louisville is searching for a point guard and is also recruiting high school players Anthony Barber and Demetrius Jackson among several others.

But Forbes pointed out that Jones could be the perfect replacement for Peyton Siva, who is a senior this coming season, because "he's ready."

"I think he would have started for us as a freshman at Tennessee, no doubt," Forbes said. "I can't imagine there's a better high school player than him at this point."

Stay with Cardinal Authority for the latest developments in recruiting.

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