2019 F Kai Jones talks OCP state title, recruitment and more

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Posted On: 06/5/18 3:26 PM

Kai Jones came over to the United States last summer from the Bahamas.

I first saw the now 6’10” forward at the Orlando Hoops Festival at The First Academy in Orlando last July. Brand new to basketball, Jones was 6’8″ at the time coming off a 3-inch growth spurt and you can tell with his length and raw athleticness, he’d mature. He’s added muscle to his skinny frame and grown in height and in ability on the court.

This past weekend, Jones participated in the NBA Global Camp in Treviso, Italy. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla called Jones “one of the best prospects” in attendance. ESPN wasn’t the only media outlet in attendance to take note of Jones’ impressive play.

Right now, the 2019 forward holds 13 offers from VCU, Buffalo, Dayton, Rhode Island, UMass, Ole Miss, USF, Illinois, Georgetown, FGCU, FAU, Tennessee Tech and Western Kentucky. Jones has also drawn interest from the likes of Georgia, Texas, Syracuse, Miami, UF, Virginia, Wake Forest and more.

The 6’10”, 190-pounder said these seven schools have shown the most interest in him on a day to day basis: Dayton, Ole Miss, Rhode Island, USF, Illinois, VCU and Georgia.

In his first season with Orlando Christian Prep, the Warriors went 21-9 playing some top ranked teams in the country on the way to a Class 3A state title.

Jones is headed to do a postgrad year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He reminisced about his season with Orlando Christian Prep.

“My year at OCP was a learning experience that truly tested my faith and love for the game of basketball,” Jones told Prep Hoops. “I had a lot of ups and downs but through it all I just made a point to keep my head down and trust my work. From waking up every day at 4:45 every morning to train with my coach, Nassir (Little) and Rondo (Segu) to competitive team practices I learned a lot and grew on and off the court.”

He called his teammates the greatest he ever had and summed it up as a true brotherhood.

“I gained an abundance of knowledge from the other guys,” Jones said. “Nassir and Rondo especially helped me in finding my game and giving me motivational speeches after games or tough practices always preaching that hard work is the key to success. My teammates are what really made my year at OCP unforgettable. I love those guys.”

Jones is currently playing his second summer with Team Breakdown on the UAA circuit under head coach Kenny Gillion.

“I’ve learned a lot from these veterans coaches,” he said. “They’ve truly been great motivators and I love the intensity that they coach with. Also coach Kenny’s honesty is something that is truly helping me to get better everyday. That’s how the whole coaching staff is and I feel that it will also help us to get better as a unit.”

Pointing to his biggest strengths, Jones said that is his versatility, high motor, ability to run the floor, blocking and athleticism.

“I’m working on all aspects of my game, especially my jump shot and strength. I work on my shooting every day and I’m working towards being a great shooter,” Jones said. “I also what to improve my basketball IQ that comes from watching more film and playing more games considering that I’ve only been playing organized ball for two years.”

Jones said his confidence is a lot higher just a year later. He gives all glory to God and wants to continue to represent the Bahamas and the 242.

“I feel that that comes from trusting my work and realizing that my work is what got me to the level that I’m at,” he said. “I’m much more dominant and I play much more aggressive.”

His AAU coach Gillion had nothing but great things to say about him.

“Kai Jones upside is scary,” Gillion said. “He just turned 17 years old in January. His motor, versatility and coordination for a 6’10 forward are off the charts and he is just getting started.”

Just watching Jones grow up from July to the end of the last high school season, you could see his confidence growing daily. He went from an unsure raw athlete to a confident dunker and shooter on a team filled with Division I players like 2018 forward Nassir Little (North Carolina commit), 2018 guard Ronaldo Segu (Buffalo commit) and 2019 forward CJ Walker. Jones is only going to get better at Brewster where he’ll be able to be the guy down low and further his progression towards the collegiate level.

Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel