Former top 50 recruit will have two years of eligibility
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Coming off an appearance in the 2012 Atlantic Sun Tournament championship game in the program’s first year of Division I postseason eligibility, FGCU men’s basketball head coach Andy Enfield continued to bolster the roster on Saturday with the addition of Marquette transfer Jamail Jones (Atlanta, Ga./Montverde Academy/Marquette), who signed a grant-in aid to join the Eagles next season.
Ranked as the No. 52 recruit in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 53 by ESPN.com’s ESPNU 100 in 2010, Jones spent the last two seasons at Marquette on clubs that won a combined 49 games as a member of the BIG EAST. The 6-foot-6 wing will have two years of eligibility with the Green and Blue after sitting out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA four-year transfer rules.
“Jamail has the unique combination of size, athleticism, and skill level that can help him become an exceptional scorer and versatile play-maker,” said Enfield. “His talent level was recognized in high school as he was rated a top 50 player in the nation. With his strong work ethic, we expect Jamail to become a big time college basketball player. He fits in perfectly with our other talented young players in our up-tempo style of play. I could not be more excited than to welcome Jamail and his wonderful parents to the FGCU basketball family.”
Jones saw time in 46 games over his two seasons at Marquette, averaging 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds per game over that span. The Atlanta product reached double figures in a pair of games and made one start this year at West Virginia on Feb. 24, in a 61-60 victory. As a freshman in 2010-11, Jones had a career-high seven rebounds to go along with four points and two steals in 17 minutes against No. 14 Louisville in the BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinals, which was the first of a combined six BIG EAST Tournament and NCAA Tournament contests he would play in over two seasons.
Jones played his final high school season in Florida with nationally-renown Montverde Academy, leading it to a 25-5 overall record and a top 10 national ranking in 2009-10. Jones ranked second on the team with 16.1 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.0 assists en route to a top 100 ranking by several national recruiting services, highlighted by a scout’s grade of 94 by ESPN.com that ranked him as the No. 11 small forward in the class.
Prior to playing the 2009-10 season at Montverde Academy, Jones averaged 17.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 3.0 blocks per game at Green Forest Christian Academy in Decatur, Ga. Jones led the Eagles to an overall record of 26-4, but, more importantly, a regional title and a berth into the State Tournament while being named the region’s Most Valuable Player.
Jones along with 6-foot-10 Georgia Tech transfer Nate Hicks (Panama City Beach, Fla./J.R. Arnold HS/Georgia Tech) make up half of FGCU’s newcomers, but will have to sit out the 2012-13 season. The Eagles will also welcome in freshman DaJuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy), who started at point guard for the West Team in the Jordan Brand Classic regional game, and 6-foot-9 freshman forward Leonard Livingston (Upper Marlboro, Md./Patterson School). Not new to the program, but now eligible to play, 6-foot-9 Iowa State transfer Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) will also make his debut with the Green and Blue in 2012-13.
FGCU returns 85 percent of its scoring, 84 percent of its rebounding and 92 percent of its assists from the 2011-12 squad that won a program Division I record 15 games and advanced to the A-Sun championship as the No. 6 seed by defeating No. 3 seed USC Upstate and No. 2 seed and host Mercer.