Tom Crean and Indiana secured a big commitment over the weekend from 4-star combo guard Curtis Jones. He picked the Hoosiers over Cal, Georgetown, and Oklahoma State, and also fielded offers from Cincinnati, Maryland, NC State, Virginia, and West Virginia. Jones is rated as the #55 player in the Class of 2016 by ESPN, and the #83 player by 247 (which goes to show you how fluid/meaningless rankings become outside of the top 50).
Jones averaged 15.3 points and 3.9 assists per game last season for Huntington Prep (W.V.) while playing both guard positions. Huntington is actually the third high school Jones has played for, starting his career at Highland Springs High (Virginia) and also playing for Paul VI (Richmond).
Indiana currently has a strong connection to Huntington. Prized freshman big man Thomas Bryant played there, and 5-star forward (and Indiana target) Miles Bridges is on the current roster with Jones. But Jones' connections to the Hoosiers don't stop there. He plays his AAU basketball in the Boo Williams program, the same program that produced current Hoosiers Troy Williams and Robert Johnson. Playing on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Circuit last summer, Jones averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, while shooting 35 percent on three-pointers.If Jones can have the same kind of impact for Indiana as Williams and Johnson, the Hoosiers will continue to contend for Big Ten titles.
But even with all those connections, it was something else that really sold Jones on Indiana: tradition. Just as transfers Max Bielfeldt and Josh Newkirk cited tradition for why they chose Indiana at their introductory press conference, Jones also was drawn to the program's tradition. Jones cited "the tradition of Indiana, along with Coach Crean's plan for me to develop over time", before adding, "The fan base is definitely one of the best in the country.
By the time Jones gets to Bloomington, the Hoosiers will be down a few shooters. Yogi Ferrell and Nick Zeisloft will have exhausted their eligibility, and it's very possible that Williams and James Blackmon Jr. leave school early to turn pro. This would leave the Hoosiers pretty thin at point guard, with Pittsburgh transfer Josh Newkirk and walk-on Harrison Niego being the only pure point guards on the roster. Therefore, Jones may be the lead guard when he steps on campus, depending on what Tom Crean does to fill his allotment of scholarships.
A backcourt of Jones and Johnson would definitely still have the shooting ability that makes Indiana so tough to defend, with fellow Class of 2016 commit Grant Gelon also able to provide shooting off the bench. Jones isn't huge for a guard, but at 6'4" he will provide more physicality than Ferrell and will add another dimension to the Hoosier offense.
There was very little roster turnover last offseason, which is part of the reason that the Hoosiers will be losing a lot of key players after this upcoming season. But with Jones coming in to run the offense, Indiana will still be in position to compete in the conference and nationally going forward.