As the recruiting calendar heads into the second weekend of the evaluation period, a new candidate is emerging for Patrick Ewing’s staff. Current Central Florida assistant Jamill Jones appears to be gaining traction. And like Tony Skinn, he would offer a young up and comer who is plugged into the DMV grassroots scene.
Jones, a Washington D.C. native is a 2008 graduate of Arkansas Tech, and began his coaching career soon after. Jones spent five years as an assistant with Team Takeover on the Nike AAU circuit under the tutelage of Keith Stevens, his uncle. Jones was then hired by Joe Dooley at Florida Golf Coast in the spring of 2013 to begin his college coaching career.
While at FGCU during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons, Jones quickly landed Rice transfer and D.C. transplant Julian DeBose, who once played for Team Takeover. Jones is credited with landing the highest rated recruit in program history, Rayjon Tucker (#148 on 247). DeBose would go on to be a two year starter and Tucker has been a significant contributor as a freshman and sophomore.
From there it was a one year stop at VCU during the 2015-2016. Jones was then credited for landing former St. John’s commit, Samir Doughty. After being a partial qualifier as a freshman, Doughty was a key contributor for VCU this past season. Then VCU coach, Will Wade had this to say about Jones:
"Jamill is one of those guys I've kept my eye on a lot in recent years. Our relationship has really developed recently and I've taken note of him being a tenacious recruiter, great with relationships and will outwork anyone," Wade said. "As we've gotten to know each other, we'll text at all hours of the night and that's my type of guy. He'll be a tremendous asset for us in recruiting, especially in the Mid-Atlantic area. He's been around a lot of high level players who have had great success in the pro ranks and he'll bring a lot of that knowledge and experience to our players here at VCU."
Jones was then lured away by D.C. area native and new UCF coach, Johnny Dawkins in April of 2016 - who was clearly looking to dip into the DMV area with recruiting.
"I am excited to add Jamill to my staff," said Dawkins, who was hired on March 23. "He is one of the top young coaches in the country and has worked with some great programs in VCU and Florida Gulf Coast. He has a big recruiting presence up and down the east coast, including the state of Florida, and is considered by many an outstanding individual instructor, which is key in helping us build a competitive program at UCF."
Jones would do quick work in his one year at UCF - in May landing Drexel transfer Terrell Allen, who played high school ball at DeMatha and with D.C. Premier on the AAU circuit. In July, Jones would receive a commitment from Myles Douglas. Douglas played with Team Takeover and is finishing his senior year at Paul VI. If you follow recruiting you may also remember UCF sending out tons of offers last spring and summer - including to uncommitted local prospects; Brandon Slater, Bryce Golden, Anthony Harris, Armando Bacot. UCF has also been linked with local kids such as Tre Wood, Marvin Price, Mezie Offerum and Montez Mathis. The type of aggression and green light Jones has had on the trail would hopefully be welcome at a program who must have an infusion of talent.
It also reflects well on Jones that he has been a part of succesful teams in his short career - FGCU won their conference and made the NCAA’s in 2014. A 2nd place finish in 2015. VCU won the A10 and made the 2nd round of the NCAA’s in 2016. And this past year UCF overachieved with a strong year in the AAC and a deep NIT run.
Add it all up, and it’s an impressive resume for an assistant just out of his 20’s. And on paper, it appears greater than Skinn’s. If the last spot is between Skinn and Jones, it’s a win-win. Both would be terrific hires.