Mike Jones impressed college coaches last summer at the Nike Peach Jam at the Riverview Park Center in North Augusta, S.C. Over the weekend, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound small forward from Richland Northeast High School in Hopkins, S.C. was back at the place where he proved that he was amongst the nation's elite and he played as strong as you'd like to see the No. 54 ranked player in the class of 2006 play.
Jones was instrumental in the South Carolina Ravens title run last weekend at the AAU Super Regional with his rugged play inside the paint and his powerful offensive game. Jones says this tournament was just a tip of the iceberg.
"I want to use these tournaments to just get better, just improve everything," he said. "I'm always going to play hard because I just have that will to win. I think that is my strength. College coaches say they like that in my game, too."
It's no surprise his phone has been blowing up. When coaches could call recruits, Jones had numbers from coaches from Kansas, Georgia, Illinois, Arkansas and Alabama pop up on his caller ID. Not to mention Connecticut, Syracuse, Florida State, Maryland, Georgetown, South Carolina and Clemson are all in the picture.
Jones continues to prove why he's one of the best players in this rising senior class. He's still trying to add more facets to his game, too.
"I know I need to improve my ball-handling if I want to be effective at the next level," Jones said.
People said Jones needed to improve his outside touch last year, too. Not only did he address that part of his game, he's becoming a deadly perimeter threat. Jones went four for four from deep in one game last weekend and he connected on a trey in all of the team's victories. He's much more confident in his shot, inside and out.
You can't question his hustle either. Jones works incredibly hard in the post for rebounds and blocked shots. He's got great hands and knows how to corral the ball in and his athleticism allows him to sky for rebounds and put back dunks.
Coaches will have a chance to evaluate him with the South Carolina Ravens as they travel to the Kingwood Classic in the open period in April. Jones says he's "still wide open. I'll listen to anybody right now."