Rick Pitino and Louisville shored up its backcourt by luring the top junior college player in the country in point guard Chris Jones.
“Well my recruiting process is over you guys I will be at Louisville next year I wana thank god n family n friends and coaches for support…” Jones posted on his Twitter account.
Jones stars at Northwest Florida State as a 5-foot-10 floor general from Melrose, Tenn., who averaged 18.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists last season, leading the Raiders to a No. 2 ranking and an appearance in the national championship game.
Jones originally signed with Tennessee signee under then-coach Bruce Pearl but headed to junior college instead of the Volunteers. He had been one of the most sought-after prospects this year, taking visits to Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Florida State.
Louisville has the No. 7-ranked recruiting class heading into the week, with top-100 prospects Anton Gill and Terry Rozier already in tow. Now that Jones is part of the equation, the Cardinals are sure to move up.
Pitino’s troops are likely to be ranked in everyone’s top preseason three, but he did need reinforcements for next year. Point guard Peyton Siva is gone, and Jones should step right in and fill the hole at point guard. The Cardinals have 14 scholarship players for next season.
“He is the ‘straw that stirs the drink,’” Jone’s JUCO coach, Steve Forbes, said. “He’s been a facilitator for others and has made big baskets for our team throughout the year. His passion and his will to win has rubbed off on the rest of our team. It’s always a blessing when your best player is your hardest worker and he is our hardest worker.”
In the last year, Jones developed on and off the court. “This level and the coaches have taught me a lot,” Jones said. “I’ve learned to play a more physical style of game. It has also taught me how to stay mentally strong on and off the court. I’ve become a more mature player and person. I’ve learned how to be a leader and how to keep my teammates happy. I have always been and will be a scoring guard, but I’ve learned how to score and distribute.”