By Joe Henricksen
Simeon’s Jeremy Jones is obviously not the prospect Derrick Rose was or even as hot of a commodity as teammate Stan Simpson was last year. But the little-known 6-1 guard is one of the most under-the-radar players in Illinois and a legitimate Division I prospect.
Jones, who has shined for Larry Butler and the Illinois Warriors this past spring, was absolutely terrific this past weekend at the University of Illinois Team Camp at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. After playing a small role for coach Robert Smith last year as a designated shooter off the bench, Jones continues to do what he does best — shoot the basketball from the perimeter in this day where shooting is a lost art. Whether it’s spotting up or shooting off the dribble, Jones is a shooter by definition but quickly emerging as a true scorer. With continued experience and opportunities, as well as a rising confidence level, Jones is doing more and more off the dribble and attacking the lane and basket. With the little experience he’s had in his role, he still shows he wants the ball at the end of games and makes plays. There were times over the weekend where he absolutely sparkled on the offensive end and showed a willingness to get after it defensively.
The Hoops Report has had Jones pegged as a low-Division I prospect, but with the ability to score and the obvious rapid development he’s showing with the expanded opportunities he’s receiving, there is little doubt he can play at a higher level with the huge strides he’s making. And in the little conversation I had with him over the weekend, he seems to have a good head on his shoulders and a terrific demeanor.
State’s best point guard prospect in 2009
Whitney Young’s Chris Colvin continues to play with more consistency and is no doubt the best point guard prospect in the Class of 2009. When an updated list of the Hoops Report’s top players in the Class of 2009 comes out in the near future, Colvin will rank among the top four players in the class overall. Colvin’s strength remains breaking down anyone he wants to off the dribble and getting to the basket. He also seems more and more comfortable playing the role of a true point guard. As his shooting from the perimeter develops — this remains his biggest weakness — Colvin can become a complete player.
Watch out for Hyde Park
The Chicago Public League will have Whitney Young and North Lawndale at the top next season, but a team — and program to watch for in the future — is Hyde Park. Coach Donnie Kirksey has it going. Malcolm Griffin, a high-scoring guard, is the go-to player but 6-7 Jerome Moore and 6-5 Anthony Dixon are opening eyes. Moore was especially impressive with his athleticism and versatility. And look for Kirksey’s presence to be felt in the Public League in the future.
As Brooks makes continued strides with its bevy of young talent in the program, the type of players and style they play eerily resembles those of the great Westinghouse teams earlier this decade. Probably no real surprise, considering Chris Head, the former Westinghouse coach, is the man building the Brooks program that has the makings of a powerhouse in a year or two.
Huge plus for Illini
Following the one-day Elite Camp in Champaign a week ago, the quick-but-worth-it junior high Elite Camp in Deerfield on Thursday night, which included a few of the most highly-regarded junior high prospects, and the two-day satellite camp at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago over the weekend, the last week was a huge boon for exposure and recruiting for coach Bruce Weber and his staff. What a huge positive it’s been, especially with all the prominent Chicago Public League coaches and many AAU coaches at Moody Bible. It’s free and easy access and exposure to not only players, but all the “players” in high school basketball. That can go a long way in building relationships.