No. 2 prospect to commit to the Longhorns
Bahamian four-star and ESPN’s number 45 ranked high school basketball player, Kai Jones, has decided to take his talents to the University of Texas and play for the Longhorns next fall.
Jones made the decision last night in a video posted on Instagram and Twitter. Jones donned the Longhorns gear as he revealed where he intends to play.
Jones picked the Longhorns over Florida State Seminoles and Baylor Bears, and he also took an official visit to Syracuse, who had offered.
The Longhorns plays in the Big 12 Conference. They finished last season with a win-loss record of 19-15 and ended their season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament in the first round, losing to Nevada.
After his announcement, he spoke about choosing Texas in his journey.
“Texas showed serious interest in me before everything blew up in the summer. Head coach Shaka Smart personally recruited me and expressed his interest in me coming to Texas. The basketball program and the academics are highly regarded and I felt that would be a great next step for me,” Jones said.
He is aspiring to be an investment broker and wants to major in Finance or Business.
Jones is the second commitment for Texas’ 2019 class. He will be joining fellow four-star senior shooting guard Donovan Williams next fall in Austin, Texas.
The versatile big man said: “I can be a guy who can come in and be an athletic slasher for them. I can be a big who can rebound and push the ball and make plays for them.”
The Brewster Academy center is following in the footsteps of former Bahamian basketball player Dexter Cambridge and, more recently, Shaquille Cleare. As a Bahamian committed to the Longhorns, Jones said he has a great deal of pride being a Bahamian playing for Texas.
“Obviously there is a great deal of pride I have in following in the footsteps of Dexter Cambridge, who was a pioneer in Bahamian basketball, and more recently Shaquille Clare. That said, I intend to blaze my own trail and make my mark at this great university,” he said.
Last year at this time, Jones was scraping the surface in the USA basketball scene at Orlando Christian Preparatory in Orlando, Florida. That was his first school he played for before heading to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
He gained a lot of attention and interest this summer when he played for Team Breakdown in Amateur Athletic Union tournaments around the United States. He blew up quickly and since then made the ESPN Top 100 high school basketball players list.
He said: “You cannot ever limit yourself because everything in life is perspective. Yes, this all happened rather quickly, but I’ve been working hard for a long time. The opportunity came, and I was ready. So, it’s on to the next challenge.”
Brewster’s basketball season has not started as yet and Jones is excited to be on the team. He is having an amazing experience and is ready to win a championship for his school.
“Being here at Brewster has been an amazing experience so far. We have a stacked team, and we’re going for a championship, so my focus is getting better every day, working on my game and enjoying this amazing ride,” the 6’ 10” forward said.
Jason Smith, head coach at Brewster Academy, said he heard about Jones through a coach in Florida who sent him a video of him playing.
Smith said: “I am very happy for Kai. I am very proud of him. He is special because of the time he puts in himself to be a great player. It was not anything that was just handed to him. It’s the hours that he has put in on his own with his trainer. I am very fortunate to coach him this year.”
He added that he and his coaching staff are hoping to help Jones to continue to develop and sharpen his game all around. They are excited to have Jones in the community and the school.
Jones is expected to be groomed into a special player under Coach Jason Smith at Brewster Academy. Bahamians can see him as he begins his new chapter right here in New Providence on November 2 at the inaugural Caribbean Tip-Off Classic, when Brewster Academy plays Ridley College Prep out of Canada.
Jones is excited to have an opportunity to showcase his skills and talent in front of the Bahamian people. The classic will be held November 2-4 at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
Deyvon Jones, Kai Jones’ father, was glad his son took his time to look at all the options carefully before he chose a school. The elder Jones said: “I am happy he took his time and looked at all of his options carefully, and made the best choice for him – where he thought he could develop and excel at a high level.”
The high energy player said the Buddy Hield and DeAndre Ayton NBA stories are an inspiration to him as he has his eyes on the NBA now that he has committed to the Longhorns.
“I feel like they have set a path and showed a great example of what it takes to get there. The Buddy story is growing now, everyone knows it and knows that it took him a lot of work. DeAndre, he was blessed with height and natural talent but he worked really hard as well. I think they set a path and stage for us to go and excel and you know it’s grown globally now and the goals definitely seem more attainable and more realistic. I know there’s an art to this process for everybody but once you figure out the right way it is up to you to go and believe in yourself. Having that self-confidence, it takes you a very long way,” he said.
Jones will don the uniform of NBA players like Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Myles Turner and Avery Bradley.
The younger Jones gives credit to his parents, his coaches, his trainers and his teammates at both high schools for helping him get to this stage.