Rising Star Jones Back in College Park

Maryland wasn't able to knock off Pittsburgh Jan. 25 in an 83-79 Terps loss, but that didn't seem to bother a potential top UMD recruit in attendance. Sophomore combo guard Curtis Jones (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.), who has now been to two UMD games and a Midnight Madness event in College Park, said the home team "showed a lot of fight" in its defeat at the hands of a top-20 squad.

Maryland wasn't able to knock off Pittsburgh Jan. 25 in an 83-79 Terps loss, but that didn't seem to bother a potential top UMD recruit in attendance. Sophomore combo guard Curtis Jones (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.), who has now been to two UMD games and a Midnight Madness event in College Park, said the home team "showed a lot of fight" in its defeat at the hands of a top-20 squad.

"Maryland, I thought they played well against a really tough Pittsburgh team," the 6-foot-2, 170-pound Jones said. "The team played with heart and did well to not give in. [Point guard] Seth Allen, I like his game, and [wing] Dez Wells, he's a tough player and I like him too.

"But overall the environment was good and the fans were into it. I liked it. It was better than the last game I was at when they played Oregon State."

After the game, Jones, who figures to be one the region's elite recruits, had a chance to speak briefly to assistant Dustin Clark and head coach Mark Turgeon. Turgeon, for his part, has been down to Paul VI several times and has monitored Jones' game closely.

"They were just saying to keep up the good work and they're really interested in me. They say to keep working hard," Jones said. "They tell me to just play my game and continue to get better. They've seen me before, they've been at my school, so I know they like me. And I feel if I do [keep improving] they're going to offer."

Jones said he'd "definitely" like to return to College Park at some point. He's not sure if he'll be able to make another game, but "I'd like to see the school more, meet some players and coaches, that would be nice."

Of course, there's plenty of places Jones would like to see. The only schools he's seen so far are VCU, UVA and Virginia Tech, while he's attended Midnight Madness events at Maryland and Georgetown.

"I'm trying to get out to West Virginia and N.C. State since they've offered," said Jones, who now he has offers from Wake Forest, N.C. State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Old Dominion, VCU and Tulane, while UMD, Georgetown, Ohio State, Xavier, North Carolina and Oregon State are showing interest. "There's a lot of places I still need to get to, but it's still really early for me."

Of the schools that have offered and are showing interest, Jones declined to say any of them have caught his eye. He said once he visits a few more campuses he'll be able to compare programs and make a more informed judgment.

"I just have to concentrate on my game right now and I'll get to recruiting after the season or later on," Jones said. "The recruiting will fall into place."

While Jones began his sophomore campaign coming off the bench, he's been inserted into the starting lineup the last few games. He said he's averaging nine points per game for Paul VI this season.

"I'd say my strength is scoring and finishing right now, and I'm becoming a better passer and my defense has picked up a lot," Jones said. "But I have to get better all-around. Ball-handling, shooting, defense. I just have to get better."

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