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InsideMDSports just caught up with Jones, the 6-9, 225-pound do-it-all junior who we profiled earlier today, and he filled us in on his recruitment, his relationship with Ross and his thoughts on Maryland.

Jones met Terps assistant Rob Ehsan 10 days ago at the King James Tournament in Ohio. Ehsan told him the staff had seen him previously but figured he wasn't leaving the west Coast, and thus didn't begin to recruit him. Now, with his friend Ross having verbally committed to Maryland, Ehsan and offered him a scholarship on the spot.

"He told me they were going to start [recruiting me]," Jones said. "My sister goes to Howard in D.C., so when I go there [this spring or summer] I'm going to stop through."

Jones currently lists offers from the following schools: Maryland, Marquette, Georgetown, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Cal, Indiana, Florida and Oklahoma. He said he has no favorites and no predisposition for staying on the West Coast or playing in the Pac-10.

Maryland "saw me play in the Peach Jam but they just thought I wasn't going to go to school that far away. Now that they know that distance isn't a factor, they're recruiting me. I know that they have a good program and that they're going to be gradiating most of their starters the year that we're freshmen," he said.

Ross and Jones have dreamed of playing college basketball together since their freshman year at Jefferson, Jones said. Ross called him from the Maryland-Duke game this year to tell him about the scene.

"He just told me how packed the arena was and what everyone was like, and that I should look into it," said Jones, adding that Ross has been calling him and talking more about Maryland since his commitment last week. "Just little stuff, like how they're graduating all of their starters and things like that."

Jones has visited Georgetown, Oregon State and Cal. He said he has no favorites whatsoever. Asked again about the location factor, he said, "Doesn't matter."

Ross and Jones meshed together extremely well while playing together in high school and AAU ball. They'll likely team up again in early June on the circuit.

"We just kind of see the same stuff. When I drive, he knows where to run to and look for the ball, and he knows how to get looks for me. It just kind of meshes together," he said.

A former football quarterback, Jones is unique in that he's a big man who's earned acclaim for his handling and passing skills.

"No position really, just one, two three and four, whatever the coach needs. [My strength is] my versatility. I'm able to post up smaller players and take them to the block, or use teh drive against bigger, slower players."

Asked if there's any current or former player he'd compare his style to, he said, "A little bit of Lamar Odom, Magic Johnson."

We also asked what he's looking for in a college program.

"Get guys better, get guys to the NBA, a good system."

He said he has no timetable for a decision.

"I don't have a set time, just whenever it feels like the right place for me."




 
 

After all this time, it appears that Arizona or Memphis has as good a shot to land Lance Stephenson as anyone.

Stephenson, the McDonald’s All-American out of Brooklyn Lincoln, has reportedly crossed both St. John’s and Maryland off his list of potential colleges, which makes sense because if he hasn’t committed to either by now, what is he waiting for?

“At this point [St. John's is] out,” a source told the Daily News. “They’re not a high priority for us. Maryland coach [Gary Williams] embraced Lance, but for some reason that wasn’t the right move.”

A St. John’s source said the Stephenson family had not called them as of noon on Friday to dispute the accuracy of the report.

Both Lance Stephenson Jr and Sr. have repeatedly said they wanted to get the young man out of New York and into a different environment.

St. John’s recently
got a commitment from point guard Malik Stith, and head coach Norm Roberts is also waiting on several other players. By waiting on Stephenson, it could hinder his chances to land those players.

“[Stith] is going to be a guy that’s really going to be able to help us from the point guard position because we were depleted at that position a year ago,” Roberts said.

He added: “I like my team right now.”

As for Maryland, sources say that Stephenson feels Williams’ system would be too structured for him. There is also the concern of a potential NCAA investigation into Stephenson’s visit to the Under Armour facilities during his official visit in January.  Under Armour is owned and operated by Kevin Plank, a Maryland booster.

“It was just an honest part of the trip,” Lance Sr. told SLAM Magazine in its June issue. “They gave us a tour and basically that was it. They showed us how they make sneakers, we met with the academic people, the coaches…we just saw the itinerary. If it was a violation, we didn’t know anything about it.”

Stephenson has never visited Arizona or Memphis but Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson has been in touch with the family, and Memphis head coach Josh Pastner has also reached out, as first reported here.

Richardson coached Stephenson on a USA Basketball team in 2007 that won the gold medal and he is trying to cultivate that relationship.

Richardson is also recruiting another New York native, Kevin Parrom, who takes his official
visit to Arizona this weekend and will decide by next week.

No official visits for Stephenson have been set to either Arizona or Memphis, but a source said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he verballed without stepping foot on campus.”

Despite the Daily News report that Kentucky was in the mix, a source within the Kentucky program said they were not recruiting Stephenson and that landing a point guard – John Wall or Eric Bledsoe – was the “top priority.”

The late signing period ends May 20, but there is nothing preventing Stephenson from announcing after that date.

“[Lance Sr.] said he’s not even close to making a decision,” a source said.

It is not like Zags had reported Maryland out of it before but this time I have a pretty good hunch its true.



 

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