Spingarn High School's Earl Jones, one of the most highly recruited basketball players in the nation, said yesterday he will attend the University of the District of Columbia in the fall.

The 6-foot-10, 210 pound Jones, who led the Green Wave to a 24-2 record and the city championship last season, told The Washington Post he decided on Division II UDC because of its proximity to home, a family-like atmosphere and a good relationship with coach Wil Jones.

According to his guardian, William (Doc) Robinson, Jones had close to a 3.5 grade-point average at Spingarn this year but just missed a 2.0 (C) four-year average that is necessary for a grant to a Division I school.

"Earl could still get his 2.0 because all the grades aren't final yet," Robinson said.

Jones listed UCLA and Nevada-Las Vegas as his other two final choices.

He said that had he gained the 2.0, he would have attended UDC anyway.

"I felt I had a good year, academically and on the court," said Jones, who averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks a game while playing an average of three quarters a contest. "I considered UCLA because I liked the school but UDC is small and there is no hassle.

"I don't have any problems attending a small school," said Jones. "Remember, I came from a small (high) school. I don't think the size of the school will hurt my chances of playing professional at all."

The quiet, reserved Jones cause a big stir in local basketball circles when he transferred to Spingarn from Mount Hope, W. Va., last summer. Jones enrolled at the Northeast school and played in only three games before he was ruled ineligible by Interhigh League Athletic Director Otto Jordan.

Jones had reportedly missed 63 days of school in the second semester of his junior year at Mount Hope. According to the rules of the Interhigh, a student transferring from another jurisdiction must have attended school at least two-thirds of the previous semester to be eligible to participate in sports the next semester.

Jones and his guardian protested the ruling, citing family problems and circumstances, and the case eventually was taken to court. D.C. Superior Court Judge Shellie Bowers decided in favor of the league and Jone was forced to sit out his first semester.

Jones returned to the basketball court in February and destroyed Spingarn's competiton in the Interhigh, considered the most talented and best-balanced league in the area. Led by the lithe Jones, the Green Wave won 15 of 16 games, the league title and the city title game against DeMatha. w

Jones said one reason he selected UDC was that he would be able to play with a good friend, Mike Britt, a 6-7 freshman who scored 51 points for UDC in one game last year before he was ruled ineligible for irregularities on his GED document." He has done the necessary work and will be eligible in the fall.

Jones also said there is a good possibility he could stay four years at UDC if the pros didn't come up with an offer he felt was fair.

However, "Even after one year in college, I would go pro if they offered me a good contract," said Jones. "If not, I would stay."

Robinson said the decision to attend UDC was his ward's decision and his alone.