Perhaps if Christian Jones hadn’t torn his right meniscus, the following year wouldn’t have been so eventful. The injury forced the Annapolis guard to sit out most of his sophomore season and the ensuing summer, and he flew under the radar of scouts and college coaches.
“It kind of put me in the shadows,” Jones said.
So when Jones dazzled during his junior year, pulling up for three-pointers over hapless defenders, attacking the rim at will, people started to pay attention. His recruitment began “blowing up,” said Eric Elston, a mentor of Jones who works in an administrative role at Annapolis.
After averaging 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a season that saw the Panthers advance to the Maryland 4A state semifinals, Jones received his first college offer, from High Point, on March 9.
He said he’s also had interest from Rutgers, UConn, Miami, Wichita State, James Madison and Lafayette, among others. Jones expects to gain a clearer picture of his future this spring and summer when he plays AAU ball with Team BBC, which heads to Dallas this weekend to participate in the adidas Gauntlet.
“He’s still evolving. He’s getting a lot of interest,” Elston said. “Everyone’s calling back and saying they love him.”
Before everyone started fawning over Jones, he needed to get back into shape. He’d feel winded after merely a couple of possessions up and down the court early in the season, so he made sure to park himself on the stationary bike in his home and pedal for 15-20 minutes a day.
“I was a year behind, so I missed a year of workouts and getting better, Jones said.
That, in addition, to running laps around the gym after practice, eventually brought Jones’ fitness to where it needed to be.
He started laying waste to Anne Arundel County. One of his more impressive games came Dec. 8 when he scored 27 points, including six three-pointers, in a 56-53 loss to South River. In an 82-68 win over Northeast on Jan. 31, Jones recorded 24 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three blocks.
Check out my highlight – https://t.co/YJ128Fie2Q go do that for me
— C.Jones (@C_Jonesss) April 5, 2017
As Jones continued to put up gaudy numbers and attract interest, he kept an eye on bettering his game. He and Elston often hunkered down in Annapolis’ computer room and dissected game film, pinpointing the junior’s hot and cold shooting spots.
That commitment to improvement has continued with Team BBC, where Jones is honing his decision-making skills. He’s also made a commitment to taking care of his body and has even considered taking a yoga class.
“Right now he’s a mid-major player,” Elston said. “If he develops and stays consistent with his work ethic I think he can shock some people and really play at a top-25 school.”