Top 100 Camp notes: High-flyer Jones plans visit to Kentucky

broberts@herald-leader.comJune 20, 2014 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — High-flying Philadelphia wing Derrick Jones is only a few months away from his senior season of high school basketball, but he isn't in much of a rush to end his recruitment.

"It's still kind of early in the process," he said from the NBPA Top 100 Camp. "I've just been focused on my game and getting better."

Jones was one of the stars of this camp last year, when he showcased a series of highlight-reel dunks that drew oohs and aahs from all over John Paul Jones Arena.

Kentucky extended a scholarship offer a few weeks later, and the UK coaching staff has remained in contact throughout the recruitment.

"They're still in touch," Jones told the Herald-Leader. "Coach Calipari just told me that he wanted me to take my time and he thinks I would fit great in his system. It's still one of the schools that I could potentially go to."

The highly athletic, 6-foot-7 prospect also continues to hear from Syracuse, Louisville, Indiana, UConn, Villanova, North Carolina and Kansas.

All of the most recent predictions on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page are in favor of the Orange, but Jones says he doesn't have any favorites at the moment. 247 ranks him as the No. 18 overall prospect in the class of 2015.

He said he plans to visit Lexington before making a college decision, and that trip could come as early as this month.

"I want to be around players where I can feel like myself and I can be me," he said. "(I want) a big school and a good fan base. I'm one of those players who — if I'm out on the break and there's a big crowd chanting for me and I get a dunk — that's going to get my motor running even more."

There's only two

Most of the top recruits in the class of 2016 are still sifting through dozens of scholarship offers, months away from narrowing their choices to a manageable number.

Not Dedric Lawson. He's already down to two.

Lawson's brother K.J. — a four-star player in the class of 2015 — committed to hometown Memphis last October. K.J.'s decision had a major impact on Dedric's recruitment.

"When my brother committed to Memphis, everyone else just automatically thought that I was going to Memphis," Dedric said. "So other schools stopped calling, except for Kentucky. They stayed on me, came to my games and came to my school."

The younger Lawson is the No. 4 overall prospect in 247Sports' class rankings. He's a versatile 6-9 player who can be effective from both forward positions.

Both Lawsons will be leaving Memphis this summer to play at Arlington Country Day in Florida. The prep school powerhouse plays a national schedule, and Dedric is excited about the upgrade in competition for his junior season.

And he hopes John Calipari continues to stay interested in his recruitment.

"I've been following Cal since he had Derrick Rose," he said. "Calipari is a great coach. I love his system. I love the way he lets his freshmen get out there and play. He lets them play through mistakes, and by March they be rolling."

Package deal

The so-called "package deal" is all the rage in recruiting.

Usually, they don't pan out, but it's always worth keeping an eye on when it's two five-star prospects doing the talking.

Findlay Prep (Nev.) point guard Derryck Thornton said this week that he and New Jersey shooting guard Tyus Battle have discussed attending the same college in a couple of years.

The two players — friends since sixth grade — have already taken a joint visit to Michigan, and they could be planning more trips together in the future.

Kentucky offered Battle a scholarship on Tuesday. Thornton is visiting Lexington this weekend and could leave town with a UK offer of his own.

If that happens, they would be the only two guards in the class of 2016 with UK offers.

"We keep in contact," Thornton said. "It's not a lock yet, but that would be cool if we got to do it."

Off the radar

UK's on-again, off-again recruitment of Danjel Purifoy is back off again.

The small forward from the class of 2015 told the Herald-Leader that he hasn't had any recent contact with the Wildcats coaching staff. Purifoy also listed Maryland as his No. 1 school and said he plans to visit College Park sometime after his summer basketball schedule ends.

Other schools that are high on his list include Auburn, Georgia, Wichita State and Georgia Tech.

247Sports ranks Purifoy — a native of Alabama — as the No. 21 overall prospect in the class.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service