Mike Jones, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound small forward from Lower Richland High School in Hopkins, S.C., won't be traveling very far this weekend for his second official visit. The No. 37 ranked player in the class of 2007 is stopping by nearby South Carolina.
Jones, the top player in the Palmetto State, is a key target for Dave Odom and his staff for obvious reasons. 1. He's a Columbia schoolboy star. 2. He's one of the top small forwards in the country. 3. He's a multi-faceted player that can make an instant impact. But Jones says the trip is no different than any other.
"I'm just going to go out there and see what they have to say," Jones said. "Location isn't really a deal for me. I just want to go out there and play."
The Gamecocks have had Jones on their radar for the last three years. To say his presence on campus this weekend is huge is an understatement.
Jones tripped to Syracuse last week and the four-star prospect had good things to say about the Big East power.
"It was real good," Jones said. "I hung out with the players. Terrence Roberts was my host and I hung out with guys like Demetris Nichols. It was cool."
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Jim Boeheim, a newly inducted member to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"I talked to him for a little bit," Jones said. "He's real cool."
Jones, a man of few words, did most of his talking on the hardwood. While on the trip, he had a chance to play some pick up games with the team.
"I feel like I held my own," Jones said. "I matched up with Demetris and Taylor King was up there, too. He and I went at it."
The visit helped the Orange's chances but they'll have to wait and see how his other four trips go. After seeing South Carolina, Jones will officially visit UNC Charlotte, Miami and Maryland in consecutive weeks.
"I'm still wide open," Jones said. "I'm looking for a team that plays my style of play and a place where they can help me in their academic program. Of course, I want to play, too. I don't think I'll be a starter but I want to get a little bit of time."