Leaving town to play in tournaments and camps all around the country can be a pretty big drain on some kids. On the other hand, some kids thrive against the best and that's certainly been the case for Portland (Ore.) Jefferson star Terrence Jones. After collecting his second straight state title as a junior, the 6-foot-8 forward has hit the grassroots circuit with a vengeance.
Whether he's playing in events with his club team I-5 Elite or destroying as an individual at events like last weekend's Pangos camp in Long Beach, Jones loves the challenge of playing the best from around the country.
The key is having the energy to match the atmosphere of playing against all of the best players from their towns," said Jones. "I like it. It's way better than just playing in Portland."
A versatile lefty who is comfortable playing with the back to his basket or facing the hoop, Jones does a lot of things. He handles the ball like a much smaller player, is an excellent offensive rebounder and passer and has improved significantly as a defender while adding strength to his frame.
Not surprisingly, he's emerged as one of the most heavily recruited players in the country and his ever growing list reads like a virtual who's who of college basketball. Among those who are giving chase are Maryland, Florida, Indiana, Georgetown, Arizona, Washington, Washington State, California, North Carolina, Kansas and others.
Another program that has thrown it's hat into the ring is Oklahoma.
"Coach O (Oronde Taliaferro) has come out and watched me play," Jones told Sooners Illustrated. "He's talked to me and he's talked to my mom about what they have."
Jones has also spent time speaking with Sooners boss Jeff Capel. In fact, Capel extended a scholarship offer during the spring.
I've talked to Coach Capel about three times," said Jones. "Him and his coaches, they are just like real normal type dudes. It's like talking to one of my uncles, just extra cool."
Now that he's established his rep from coast to coast, Jones knows that he needs to cut his list down and move towards making a decision. It's something that he says can wait a few months, though.
"After this summer," said Jones when asked when he plans to narrow things down. "I just want to focus on my goals for the summer. I want to try to win, get to the Peach Jam and then we can get more exposure for everybody on the team."