Thursday, May 1, 2008

All Signs Indicate Verdell Jones Will Be A Gopher

Now, this is a high school kid we're talking about here, and no official announcement has been made, but all indications are that Verdell Jones will put on a Minnesota cap when he holds a press conference Monday announcing where he will play basketball this fall.

The Pioneer Press is reporting that rumors are rampant that Jones is a lock to choose Minnesota. The Illinois Prep Bulls-eye is also stating that Jones will likely become a Gopher, and reporting that Jones has advised Minnesota media to attend his news conference.

Playing for Champaign Central in Illinois, Jones has become a highly coveted commodity because of the shear dearth of available talent still on the market. At 6'4, 160, Jones is a 3-star point guard according to Rivals and is the 26th ranked point guard in the country. While he is being heavily recruited by Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, among others, we shouldn't confuse Jones with Derrick Rose. However, Jones is in the same class as Jordan Taylor, the Benilde St. Margaret's point guard (read: traitor) who is heading west to play for Bo Ryan.

ESPN Insider's recruiting evaluation on Jones is as follows: "Jones really came on this summer. He really knows how to score in various ways; a prolific scoring guard. He is a deep outside shooter, excellent scoring shot from anywhere on the court and gets to the rim at will. He's quick, but needs a lot of strength; weak up top. He is not a great defender but is capable of playing defense but loves offense a lot more. More of a 2 guard than point; not a play maker; looks to score."

If ESPN's analysis is accurate, Jones will make a nice back court partner for Al Nolen. Nolen, primarily a defensive point guard, needs help running the show. Having an offensive oriented point guard can work to solve many of the Gophers' scoring woes. I agree with the blogger at From the Barn, who wrote that he is pleased the sixth member of the class will be a ball-handler insetad of a big man. The Gophers do need both, but the guard play had the potential to be a huge weakness next season with only guards Nolen, Lawrence Westbrook, Blake Hoffarber and Devoe Joseph on the roster. Of that group, only Nolen can effectively play point.

Assuming Jones does indeed pick Tubby Smith over Billy Gilispie, Bruce Pearl and others this will be the sixth player in Tubby's incoming 2008 class. That is something that is extremely rare in college basketball, having six players in one incoming class. And it will be a startling sign to the rest of the Big Ten that Tubby is intent on drastically improving the talent level on the Gophers.

Tubby Smith's 2008 class has already been pegged as a top-10 class nationally. He's landed 4-star talents in Ralph Sampson III and Devoe Joseph. He's nabbed the JUCO Player of the Year in Devron Bostick and JUCO standout Paul Carter (who will be a sophomore next season) and South Dakota big man Colt Iverson. The addition of Jones would further solidify the incoming class, and will give us a second reason to completely ignore any further negativity aimed at Tubby from UK fans (not the decent fans, but the jerks who blame Tubby for global warming, the sub-prime mortgage crisis and various geo-political messes).

This could be the second time in a matter of months that a coveted recruit picked Tubby and Minnesota over Billy Gilispie and Kentucky. After taking all of that grief from UK fans over the last year, won't this be a nice piece of irony?


Friend Of Tubby said...

(Clipped from Hoopmasters)

Jones' father said that Minnesota is very strong...for his son's recruitment, due to their coaching staff.

"There is an offer on the table. Lou Rawls got it wrong in that song, 'When you say Bud, you've said it all.' When you say Tubby Smith, you said it all. He has a proven track record. Look at the player he has had at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky. He is a great teacher of the game," Verdell Sr. said.

His father is equally high on Gopher assistant coach Vince Taylor.

"Vince has a lot of experience as a coach and player," he said. "He was a coach with Rick Pitino."

Anonymous said...

....and Lee Corso had that saying.

"Not so fast my friends......"

Congrats IU !

Anonymous said...

"This could be the second time in a matter of months that a coveted recruit picked Tubby and Minnesota over Billy Gilispie and Kentucky. After taking all of that grief from UK fans over the last year, won't this be a nice piece of irony?"

Paging Jim....How ironic....UM is "up & coming" & he picks a school that is at it's lowest point....let me be the first to "continue the grief from UK fans ....LOL

Anonymous said...

The reason Tubby gets alot of negativity is because of jerks like yourself, who insist on beating a dead horse to death.

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