Many names get mentioned as possible future additions to the Scarlet Knights, but there has been one name that lately seems to be mentioned a bit less frequently than others, no doubt because this young man has seen his stock soar over the last year and his recruiting intensify. SOR spoke with Gerard Jones about his brother Kevin to see where RU stands with the latest star from storied Mt Vernon.
Speaking with a person from Mt Vernon this past winter, he said that the manhunt for Kevin Jones' services was going to be bigger than it was for former Mt Vernon superstar and current Chicago Bull Ben Gordon. It turns out that he may have been right. As Mike Sullivan has recently reported, Jones's recruitment has become national. Also, Syracuse has recently gotten involved and has offered - a school that Jones has said has been his "dream school".
With all this intense competition for his services, does Rutgers, a school that has vigorously pursued Jones, still stand much of chance? As good a chance as any other school, according to his brother Gerard: "Kevin is wide open", he said. How about competing with the likes of Syracuse? "Syracuse has been his dream school for a while now, but that has been since he was kid. He realizes now he has to make a decision and go to a place that is the best fit for him, that is the best situation."
Then Gerard said, when asked, what every Rutgers fan will love hearing: "To be blunt with you, yes, Rutgers has the same shot as Syracuse, or anyone else. They are definitely being considered right now. Kevin really likes them a lot". Clearly one of, it not the main factor, for RU being a strong player in Kevin's recruitment has been the effort put forth by Fred Hill and Assistant Coach Darren Savino.
"Kevin really likes Fred Hill and Darren Savino, and everything they stand for", he said. "They have gained a real good rapport with Kevin. Kevin has known Fred Hill since his days at Villanova, and really has a lot of respect for him, and Darren as well. They have done a lot since Day1". When I was told this by Gerard, I couldn't help but think back to what else the guy from Mt Vernon said to me back in February: "Fred is like family to us".
What about Mike Coburn? Does the presence of the former Mt Vernon stand-out, now a highly anticipated freshman at RU, make the Scarlet Knights even more of a team to be watched intently by Kevin this year? "Of course", said Gerard, "Mike and Kevin were teammates for three years, and they were very cool as teammates. Mike has taught Kevin a lot, and shown him a lot, about being a leader".
Still, although Rutgers apparently stands as good a shot at landing Kevin as any other school, Gerard made it clear that neither RU nor any other school is the favorite. "We are wide open. There is no favorite now. Right now we are not looking at any schools in particular; we're just concentrating on getting Kevin better as a ball player. There is a lot that that is good in his game, and there is a lot that has to get better at", he said.
Gerard then added that "we have no timetable", although he did say that if possible, they would like to have it to 10 schools by the end of the summer, and 5 by the time the season starts. Still, he said, "We don't want to put anybody off - but we do want to take our time. This is a very important time in Kevin's life. If something about a school and a situation comes and it hits us, that's great, but we are in no hurry. There is no leader".
He went on: "We're very humble that all these schools are interested in Kevin. We have to make a careful decision, weigh it all very carefully. Basically, we're just taking it all into consideration. We really just want Kevin to get his degree, and anything else is just icing on the cake". Gerard then rather candidly said that, "Look, all these schools are basically offering the same thing: immediate playing time, the chance to be a star, etc. If he's good enough to get it done, it will show wherever he goes."
One could not help but conclude at the end of this conversation that Kevin Jones is indeed a very blessed young man. Playing for one of the countries top High school programs and endowed with standout athletic abilities that have made him its latest star, and most importantly, a solid family behind him featuring an older brother who is himself a highly successful business man that has helped keep Kevin grounded and focused.
It's quite clear that whichever school eventually lands this outstanding student-athlete will really have hit the jackpot. For more about Kevin Jones, check out his website here.