Verdell Jones to Visit Arizona Saturday

Verdell Jones, a 6-foot-4 guard from Champaign Central, will visit Arizona Saturday and Sunday before making his college choice Monday. The Wildcats are expected to extend a scholarship offer. Jones made his official visit to Minnesota in the fall and visited the campus last week. He led the Maroons to the Class 3A semifinals as they fell to two-time defending champ Chicago Simeon 51-46.

Verdell Jones was named to the Associated Press Class 3A All-State first team after leading the Maroons to a 25-8 mark and a third-place finish in the Class AAA Tournament. Jones averaged 17.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. He shot 46.8% from the field, 31% from three-point range and 75.3% from the free throw line. He finished his career with 602 assists, ranking him sixth on the state of Illinois' all-time list.

Jones received interest from Indiana, Kentucky, Georgetown, Minnesota, Virginia, Texas and Arizona. He visited Indiana two weeks ago, which lost four players today and Arizona is looking for players with the loss to Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger to the NBA draft. Arizona has the No. 1 point guard in the country, Brandon Jennings, coming in next year.

Gopher fans might be afraid of losing Jones to the fast-charging Arizona, especially after seeing Krys Faber go to DePaul. Faber visited Minnesota along with Jones, but picked the Blue Demons after an April visit.

However, Devoe Joseph visited Texas and Ralph Sampson visited Kentucky after their visits to Minnesota and wound up signing with the Gophers.

The Gophers are looking at Jones to give them some needed depth at point guard. They lose leading scorer Lawrence McKenzie and will likely start sophomore-to-be Al Nolen. However, they do not have another true point guard on the roster with Lawrence Westbrook and incoming freshman Joseph capable of playing some minutes in the playmaking role. Westbrook is expected to miss four months due to a recent surgery.

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