Four to Grow On

The opening day of the early signing period came and went without a glitch Wednesday, as Ole Miss secured signatures from its three commitments, as well as a guard from one of Mississippi's most decorated high school basketball programs.

Jamal Jones, who committed to Ole Miss November 1, was the first to sign his national letter of intent.

A 6-foot-8, 180-pound wing, Jones averaged 17 points and 9.6 rebounds a game for Searcy (Ark.) High School as a junior. He also contributed 3 steals and 4.5 assists. Jones projects as either a two-guard or three at the next level.

"He's so gifted athletically," Searcy High School head coach Jimmy Summers said of Jones.

Jamal Jones

"Sometimes you watch him, and it looks like he's not running hard, but nobody can catch him. He's so long and smooth in handling the ball. He just gets it done. If he turns it up, there's no telling how good he could be."

Jones said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy laid out a plan for his freshman season while on his official visit in late October, presenting two scenarios of either significant playing time or a redshirt.

What his role will ultimately be, Jones said, is up to him.

"He said it depends on how hard I want to work," Jones said. "I can either come in and start as a true freshman, or if I don't want to work hard, I can redshirt. He said it's all up to what I want. He holds you accountable for everything."

Jones held offers from Ole Miss, Arkansas State, UALR and Southwest Missouri State. He was also getting looks from, among others, Portland State, SMU and Creighton.

"He's just really excited about his opportunity, and I think he's probably moved his commitment level up to another notch from where it was initially," Summers said.

White makes it official:

Ole Miss officially added Ladarius White and Aaron Jones to the 2011 class Wednesday afternoon.

As a junior, White, Ole Miss' longest-held commitment, led McComb High School to a 26-6 season and an appearance in the Class 5A semifinals. White averaged 23.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, while making 66 percent of his field goal chances.

A versatile guard with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, White is rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

Ladarius White

"His abilities with his length and size, he can play both guard positions," McComb head coach Hilton Harrell said.

"It's what makes him so special. He can make the outside shots, he can post you up and he can pass the ball as well as any person I've coached for or against. He's also an excellent man-on-man defender and very unselfish."

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound White chose Ole Miss over Mississippi State and Baylor.

"Ole Miss has always been home to me," White, named to the Clarion-Ledger's 2010-11 Dandy Dozen team, said.

From sleeper to signee:

Jones, also a Dandy Dozen selection, made his commitment to Ole Miss in mid-October following an official visit to the school. An unheralded prospect out of Gautier, Miss., Jones' stock took off over the summer at the Deep South All-American Camp, hosted by Jamie Palmer in Baton Rouge, La.

Prospects across the South participate, all in an attempt to heighten their recruiting interest.

Aaron Jones

Jones, a 6-foot-8 forward, made a strong impression as arguably the camp's best prospect of 105 players, according to his head coach, Keith McQueen.

"He's a tremendous athlete," McQueen said. "He's 6-9 in his socks with a 7-2 wingspan. He's a multidimensional player with a lot of different skills. Just a unique, skilled player and a tremendous defender. He's got great lateral movement. I'm just amazed he could slip under the radar."

Ole Miss recruited Jones for the better part of three years. However, in those days, he was still a raw talent growing into his body.

He had to add height and weight for prospective colleges to take notice. And when he did, growing three and a half inches over a year's time, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Baylor, UTEP, Memphis and Florida began to show interest.

A combo forward, Jones averaged 19.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.0 blocks per game as a junior. He was also named the District 8 (5A) Player of the Year, leading the Gators to a 17-11 season and a first-round appearance in the state playoffs.

"I fit in just right with their system," Jones said of Ole Miss. "They play like a team and have a family off the court. I like that. They go hard every time. Every single time, they go hard. That's what I liked the most."

Worst kept secret:

Jarvis Summers was long considered an Ole Miss lean, with sources close to the program all but assured the uncommitted, albeit talented, point guard from Provine High School in Jackson would sign Wednesday.

Summers didn't disappoint.

Though he was the last to dry ink on a letter of intent, Summers rounded out the early signing period this afternoon, becoming Ole Miss' fourth signee for the recruiting class of 2011.

Summers, the third of three Ole Miss signees selected to the Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen team, averaged 11.2 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds as a junior.

Provine will be pursuing its sixth appearance in the state championship game in Summers' senior season. The Rams finished second in Class 5A a year ago, finishing with a 23-8 overall record.

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Summers opted for Ole Miss over Oklahoma State.


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