Posted On: 11/25/18 3:55 PM
St. Frances Academy starts yet another season where they are considered the top team in the Baltimore area. For this particular team, the depth they have in the frontcourt is strong. Senior leader Rajeir Jones is a big reason why. Jones was last year’s BCL Defensive Player of the Year and recently committed to play his college ball at Chicago State.
“Chicago State was the only official visit I took, “Jones continued, “when Coach Irvin first got the job, he just made me feel like a priority. One of the things I wanted to get from a school in the recruiting process was to be recruited by a head coach and I felt like he did that. I had a good relationship with all of the coaches, though. When I went up on my visit it felt like the me and the coaches and players had known each other for a long time. Coach Irvin has started turning the program around. They struggled last year but the players said they’ve noticed a huge difference this year.”
Chicago State offered Jones in mid-September and made it a priority of theirs to build a relationship not only with Jones quickly, but also his mother. That made Jones feel even better about the entire situation. It also takes a weight off his mind and shoulders to know where he will be attending so that he can focus fully on his senior season.
We were locked in last year and we had a really good team,” Jones reflected. “We have the same thing this year, but we just have to make sure we finish the way that we start. We had some lapses last year and the little things are what hurt us. Coach [Nick] Myles put a ton of emphasis on that type of stuff in practice this year.”
With Jones being awarded with defensive player of the year, it speaks to his ability to impact a game on that end. Offensively, he was used last year as more of a spot-up shooter around the perimeter. The 3-and-D players have become valuable in today’s game, but he showed glimpse in their season-opening win against Gerstell that he has added more to his game.
“I’m making sure this year that when Ace [Baldwin] is out, I can be a little bit more on the ball,” Jones spoke on his overall development. “Making sure that I can run the offense and there not be a lapse. And on the defensive end, just making sure everyone is where they need to be and we’re executing our stuff. I may be expected to play a little both on and off the ball in college, so I just want to be ready.
Evaluation of Jones:
Jones has a great, strong body at 6-foot-3 that helps make him a dynamic defender. There aren’t many times where he takes it easy on that end of the floor. He has active hands and anticipates well in passing lanes. Offensively he does a good job wandering around the perimeter and finding open windows for teammates who penetrate to kick it out for a three-point shot. Last season he hit the three at a decent clip, but we’d like to see more consistency from him in that aspect. He has shown glimpses of putting the ball on the floor and finishing floaters in the paint. When the opportunity presents itself, Jones has the athleticism to finish over the rim. Chicago State will be a good fit for Jones to make an impact right away and grow into a deeper role as he ages.
Rajeir Jones comes in our rankings as a top-25 prospect in his class. To see the full list, click here!