Jordan Jones didn't plan on keeping the Charleston Southern coaches waiting. Before his official visit last weekend to the Big South Conference school, the Poly senior told the staff that he'd "give it two days to wait or commit" following his trip.
"I didn't wait two days," said Jones, who committed to the Buccaneers on Sunday. "I wasn't going to wait because I knew I wanted to go there."
Jones, a 6-foot-8, 205-power forward, was also recruited by Loyola, Quinnipiac, UNC Greensboro and Wright State. His pledge to a Division I program was the culmination of a rapid rise that began in earnest during his freshman year at Poly.
"I saw him walking around the hallway, asked him if he played basketball," recalled Poly coach Sam Brand. "He said, 'Kind of. Tried it before.' The game was relatively new to him coming into high school. The kid was walking around with slumped shoulders. He had humble beginnings to the game. But he worked his tail off to get where he is."
Jones' growth was on display throughout a junior year in which he averaged 8.5 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.9 blocks, while shooting 54 percent from the field. He also impressed on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit with Owings Mills-based Team Too.
Charleston Southern discovered Jones thanks to a connection through Brand. Former Poly star Darrion Stokes-Graham played for Pensacola (Fla.) State College, where a coach named Joey Murdock was on staff.
"Joey then got [an assistant coaching] job at Charleston Southern," Brand said. "He said he needed a big who ran the floor well, was a shot blocker, defender and rim protector. I told him I had exactly that."
Jones wasn't familiar with Charleston Southern's program, but once the coaches expressed interest in him, he went into full research mode.
"The first thing [I noticed were] the pictures of South Carolina and Charleston. I really liked them," Jones said. "Then I found out they beat Ole Miss the first game of last year. That was a big one. And they went to the NIT. They lost in the first round to Old Dominion, but they still went."
Jones also liked the academics -- he plans to major in business "with an emphasis on finance" -- and was sold on the coaching staff's vision for him on the team.
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"They like how I can run the floor," Jones said. "I'm pretty mobile for a big man. I block shots and protect the rim. That exactly matches the way they play. It's a nice, up-tempo style, fast-paced and score a lot of points."
Jones said the visit confirmed to him that Charleston Southern's program is "like a family. It's exactly like my high school, Poly."
His current coach agreed with that assessment.
"I think he'll be a good fit. It's a situation where he'll be able to go there and play and really help those guys," Brand said. "His best basketball is ahead of him. He's getting better so fast. I think it's just going to continue into college."