ARCHBISHOP CARROLL'S Derrick Jones is like any other rising high school junior. He is looking at colleges, and trying to make a decision that best fits him. The difference is, he has it narrowed down to a list of colleges that want him, and want him badly.
Division I coaches from around the country were at Philadelphia University yesterday to catch some of the best recruits in the nation, including Jones, participate in the Reebok Classic Breakout Camp.
The 6-6 Jones, who has offers from Syracuse, Maryland, Villanova, Penn State, Temple, Saint Joseph's, Kansas State and Kansas, is looking for a school that matches the way he plays: big.
"I'm looking for a great fan base, a big arena, a big campus," Jones said. "I like a big campus because I like to socialize with people and everything, so a big campus is good for me."
While he has yet to visit any campuses, he has researched some schools to find out what would be the best fit for him. And some schools are making an effort to let Jones know that they are following him this summer too.
Many of the coaches of the schools pursuing him, including Temple's Fran Dunphy and Villanova's Jay Wright, were present yesterday. Jones also has interest from Kentucky, and head coach John Calipari was there to see what Jones had to offer the Wildcats.
"It's a great camp," Jones said. "There's a lot of great players here. Just trying to get better every day and keep working."
Jones believes that playing against such high-level players gives him a chance to elevate his game.
"There's a lot of good defenders, but I just have to get better off the dribble and try to get to the basket," Jones said. "They are going to play up a little bit, so I need to knock down my shots."
Jones said that like other players, he has weaknesses, but noted that his are more mechanical.
"I'm working on my jump shot and my handle, and getting stronger," he said. "My help defense or getting to the basket have to be the best parts of my game right now."
Even though he is getting national recognition, Jones said his focus is on playing well for Carroll.
"My goal is for the next 2 years to win two state championships and two Catholic League championships," Jones said.