Just one day following his official visit, the No. 1 junior college player in the country chose The University of Louisville. Chris Jones, a 5-11 sophomore for Northwest Florida State college posted the news on his Twitter. It was confirmed in a telephone interview that Jones pledged to play for Rick Pitino.
“He’s a fierce competitor, won a state championship in high school, played for a national championship last year in juco,” NW Florida coach Steve Forbes said. “Now he has the opportunity to compete for a national championship at the next level and play for a Hall of Fame coach.”
Ranked No. 67 as a high school senior, Jones became a first-team All-American last season at Northwest Florida. The 2012 Panhandle Conference player of the year was the first freshman afforded that distinction since Chris Porter nearly 15 years ago. He averaged 18 points a game for the national juco runner-ups.
In picking Louisville, Jones passed on offers from a host of programs that had been recruiting point guards, including Kansas, Florida State, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
“I saw Steve Francis play a long time ago. He was obviously a good player. I coached Brandon Hughes, who went to Michigan out of junior college. There’s no question that over the last few years (Chris Jones is) the best I’ve seen,” he said. “He has few holes in his game and his competiveness takes him over the top.”
Jones’ pledge to Louisville means that the entire 2011 Tennessee recruiting class, the final class recruited by Bruce Pearl (Forbes was an assistant on the staff) wound up at Louisville.