If Verdell Jones never returns to Springfield, Mo., he will be okay with that. The Rivals150 guard spent time in the Queen City of the Ozarks for the Bass Pro Shop Tournament of Champions last week and had a weekend he'll never forget.
Jones had a string of bad luck that included two broken fingers, a night in the hospital away from his team and an 0-3 record while in Springfield.
Certainly someone in nearby Branson can write a sad country song detailing the weekend Jones had.
The 6-foot-4, 160-pound guard from Champaign Central (Ill.) said he woke up around 4 a.m. on the second day in town and simply passed out in the bathroom, slamming his head into the sink and breaking two fingers on his shooting hand in the fall.
He awoke the next morning around 4 a.m. again vomiting and experiencing major stomach problems. He was taken to the hospital and was hooked up to IVs instead of starting at the point against Greg Monroe and Helen Cox (La.).
"I feel like if I was there, I think we could have won. We were close the whole way and only lost by one in double overtime," Jones said. "It was a rough weekend."
Jones battled through the bad luck and bad health and even suited up for the third game in the tournament.
He's moved on and chalked up the weekend as one to forget. Champaign Central (14-5) is hoping Jones can get back to doing what he does best – run his team with efficiency and confidence. Jones, who is averaging 19 points and nine assists a game, said the realization of his high school career ending soon hit him last week.
"When I was in the hospital it hit me," Jones said. "I realized that this was my last tournament, other than the post-season, that I'll be playing with my high school team. It's crazy it's almost time for college."
Colleges are working hard on Jones, one of the top unsigned point guards in the 2008 class.
"A few more schools have tried to get involved," Jones said. "It's getting pretty intense coming down the home stretch."
Jones said Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl has been at a couple of his games of late while Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie has stayed in touch with his allotted phone conversations. Minnesota head coah Tubby Smith has taken a seat courtside at a couple of Champaign Central games this season too, Jones said.
With four official visits left to use, the three-star guard said he would like to use some of his trips relatively soon. A trip to Kentucky could be his first visit in 2008.
West Virginia, Virginia and Oklahoma are also involved, he said.
"The big three are probably Minnesota, Kentucky and Tennessee right now," Jones said.