Mikeal Brown-Jones wouldn’t mind if his well-traveled basketball career circled back to his hometown.
A Philadelphia native who played at Roman Catholic and Girard College before enrolling at national power IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Brown-Jones is a Class of 2020 power forward ranked as a three-star recruit by rivals.com and 247Sports.com.
Earlier this week, Brown-Jones narrowed his college choices to a final five, with Temple and St. Joseph’s on the list.
"Temple is like five minutes from my crib,” said Brown-Jones, who grew up in North Philadelphia. “St. Joe’s is another city school. I want to give the city schools a chance.
"It would be a dream come true to play for a city school in college, to play in front of the hometown crowd at the next level.”
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound Brown-Jones was a member of the IMG team that went 29-1 and won the GEICO High School Nationals in April, beating rival Monteverde (Fla.) in the semifinals and La Lumiere (Ind.) in the title game.
Incoming Villanova freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, a McDonald’s All-American, was Brown-Jones’ IMG teammate.
“I can’t begin to explain how unreal that was,” Brown-Jones said of winning a national title. “It was an unbelievable feeling. I cried on my pop’s shoulder.”
Brown-Jones had committed to Penn State in November. He decommitted and reopened his recruiting after IMG’s season ended with a national championship.
“I just felt after winning a national title that other opportunities would present themselves,” Brown-Jones said.
Brown-Jones began his high school career at Roman Catholic, where he was a freshman reserve on the school’s 2016 PIAA Class 4A state title team. He transferred to Girard College, reclassified to the Class of 2020, and helped the Cavaliers to a 24-9 mark and the PIAA Class A title game in 2017. He averaged 22.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks that season.
Brown-Jones said transferring to IMG, which features extensive individual training as well as academic support, was the right decision.
“It was a great opportunity,” Brown-Jones said. “It was hard. I’ve lived in Philly my whole life. It was tough to leave family and friends. But it was the best thing for me.”
Brown-Jones also lists Virginia Commonwealth, New Mexico and South Florida among his final five college choices.
He plans to visit VCU on Aug. 30, Temple on Sept. 6, and New Mexico on Sept. 21. He made an unofficial visit to South Florida earlier this summer and hopes to arrange a visit to St. Joseph.
He said he will make a commitment Oct. 4.
“I want to go somewhere where I can make an impact right away,” Brown-Jones said. “My goal is to play in the NBA. That’s my dream.”