UCLA Pursues JC Point Guard

UCLA now has a new recruiting target: Lazeric Jones, the 6-1 prospect from Carterville (Ill.) John W. Logan Junior College, who some scouts consider one of the best JC point guards in the nation. We spoke to Jones today about how his recruitment has picked up, and how it's going with UCLA...

Lazeric Jones, the 6-1, 200-pound point guard prospect from Carterville (Ill.) John W. Logan Junior College, who is considered one of the best JC point guard prospects in the country, has become a recruiting target for UCLA.

Jones on Friday told us that UCLA had indeed offered him a scholarship. "They verbally offered me not to long ago," Jones said.

The only other offer he's received is from Nevada, but he said, "I'm hearing from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Baylor, Wisconsin, Arizona and a bunch more."

He has an official visit lined up for UCLA on December 20th and 21st.

"Yeah, I'm excited for that visit," Jones said. "UCLA is a big-time program. And it will be a good experience to go to UCLA, see what it's like, see the coaching staff and see how they run a practice, and get a good feel for it. It will be my first official visit, so it will be a good way for me to get a feel for this and compare other schools."

Jones, who is in his second year at Logan, said he was lightly recruited as a senior at Chicago (Ill.) Simeon, from "some smaller programs," but started getting D-1 attention after he grew a couple of inches ("I was probably 5-11 in high school, now I'm about 6-1 without shoes") and then had some good showings in various events last summer.

He did add, though, that he was a full academic qualifier out of high school. "Academics are important to me and my parents," Jones said. "How good the academics are at the school will definitely mean something to me in my decision."

Jones in high school.
So far after seven games for Logan this season, he's averaging 11 points and 6 assists per game, while shooting 45% from three, and 92% from the free-throw line.

Jones said his game has definitely developed since leaving high school: "I used to be just a slasher, driving to the basket and the mid-range. But now I've become a better all-around point guard. My passing ability has gotten better. Defensively I've really improved in the last year. I'd say it's one of my strengths now. I'm still working on it and you can always get better."

Jones, right now, said he wants to take things slow in recruiting, and see how it all plays out. "Right now it's all going pretty well," Jones said. "A lot of schools are starting to show interest. Tennessee just called so we'll see about them. I'll see who else offers me an official visit and go from there."

Jones said he currently, in addition to UCLA, would like to officially visit Nevada. "And then if Tennessee offers a visit, I'd like to visit there. Wisconsin and Texas A&M have talked to me about visits. I haven't talked to Arizona about it yet."

What schools did he think were close to offering him a scholarship? "I'd say Wisconsin and Texas A&M," Jones said.

In regards to UCLA, Jones said he's very pleased with the Bruin offer. "Right now everyone might be seeing them struggling a little, but their history is great. They especially have a good history with point guards. And academics. As I said, my family is big on academics."

UCLA assistant coach Scott Duncan has been to Logan to watch Jones a couple of times, and even though Head Coach Ben Howland hasn't made the trek back to Illinois, Jones has spoken with him on the phone. Jones said, "I've spoken with him a couple of times. We haven't had a big conversation, just mostly about my family. He knows my parents are going to be big in my decision. He's interested to bring me out there for the visit. It's all been pretty good with UCLA. Coach Howland seems like a pretty nice guy."

But Jones said he's not in a hurry to make a decision. "UCLA is going to be my first visit," he said. "Right now I really don't know that much about any of the schools because I haven't taken any visits. I'll see what happens. If I get a good feel for a school on a visit, then maybe down the line."

Jones said he does have some factors, besides academics, that will impact his eventual decision: "Coming out of JC, I want to go somewhere I can play. Obviously I'd have to work for my spot but I want to go to a place I can play and we can win. I'm used to being on a contender and I'm not used to losing. I want to go somewhere that can help me with my game, where I can take my game to the next level. I would like a program that is high on improving the player. Academically it has to be strong. Location really doesn't mean that much. I'd be comfortable wherever I can go to play my game and succeed."

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