Brionna Jones wanted to remember the exact day she made her college commitment. So on the Fourth of July at around noon, the Aberdeen center put in a call to Maryland coach Brenda Frese.
“She was really excited,” Jones said Thursday. “She screamed for a while. She was really excited for me to join the Maryland family.”
Jones, The Baltimore Sun’s 2011-12 All-Metro Girls Basketball Player of the Year, selected the Terps over offers from Delaware, Georgetown, South Carolina and Virginia.
Growing up in Harford County, Jones said she always was intrigued by the possibility of playing college basketball for her home-state school. The Terps’ staff first made contact with the 6-foot-3 post player during the summer of her sophomore year.
“That was exciting because I kind of liked Maryland for awhile,” Jones said. “I went to a few games, but not a lot. I liked the coaches and I just liked the arena.”
Jones said she “really liked the feel” of Maryland’s campus from the beginning, and could see herself spending four years in College Park relatively early on in the recruiting process. She didn’t hide her affection for the Maryland program from the Terps’ coaching staff.
“I told them they were pretty much in front,” Jones said. “They were [still] nervous … because they were emailing me all the time, [saying ‘We’re] waiting for you to make your decision.’”
Despite the often “overwhelming” feeling of handling the recruiting process, Jones took her time with her decision. She focused on a junior season in which she averaged 23.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.2 blocks in leading the top-ranked Eagles to their first girls basketball state championship.
Jones, a four-star prospect and No. 13 post player nationally according to ESPN.com, wanted to get a better feel for the other schools on her final list. But after she completed visits to Georgetown, Delaware and Virginia, she was ready to make things official with the Terps.
“I’m most excited for playing for Coach Frese,” Jones said. “I met her a whole bunch of times. And I just liked that she’s really excited about me as a player.”
In a 2013 recruiting class that already has commitments from a point guard (Lexie Brown), shooting guard (Shatori Walker-Kimbrough) and forward (Digital Harbor’s A’Lexus Harrison), Jones will fill a void in the post. The future Terp said the Maryland coaches told her she was that “extra piece” they needed for the class.
“I like to block shots and rebound,” Jones said. “I’m a true post player, so I play with my back to the basket most of the time.”
Jones said she’s “relieved” to have made her decision, and thankful that she has the opportunity to stay close to home, where she can watch older brother Jarred at Loyola and younger sister Stephanie at Aberdeen. Every July 4th from now on will be remembered by the Joneses as the day Brionna decided to stay close to her family and live out a dream.
“We were celebrating,” Jones said. “They were just congratulating me. Everybody’s proud.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun