Fans from all over packed the house Thursday night at Broughton High School’s Holliday Gymnasium in Raleigh, NC. In front of Duke Associate head basketball coach Chris Collins, Duke signee Matt Jones finished with a team-high 17 points (3-9, 1-3 3pt, 8-8FT) and 4 assists to lead DeSoto, Texas, to a 57-50 victory against Kinston in the quarterfinals of the Summit Hospitality bracket of the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational.
Jones also finished with 4 rebounds, which was good for second best on his team behind Terry Maston’s 6 rebounds. Perhaps trying to get a taste of what to expect from Duke next season, rival head coaches Mark Gottfried (NC State) and Roy Williams (UNC), along with NC State player’s Lorenzo Brown and Rodney Purvis sat court-side during Jones’ game.
When asked how it felt coming out onto the court and seeing all the coaches and rival players, Jones said, “It felt great and being recruited by them felt great”. “I just wanted to show them how much I improved as a teammate, as a player and as an individual.” Some would think that the prized Duke recruit would come out in front of coach Collins and play selfish, but instead he played within himself. “I wanted to show them (Duke staff) I could play and step in next year and contribute, but I promised my teammates that I would play team ball.” He looked good on defense and he was a solid floor general for the Eagles. Jones also said that he doesn’t see himself as a SG or PG, he sees himself as just a player and whatever coach K needs him to do, he’ll do it.
Kinston cut a lead that was once 15 points down to three late in the fourth quarter, but Desoto closed it out by hitting 15 of their last 16 FT’s. Kinston was undefeated coming into tonight’s game and they gave DeSoto all they could handle in the fourth quarter. “It was tough,” said DeSotocoach Chris Dyer. “Kinston’s a good team and we knew it was going to be tough coming in. … I was very proud of our team, as a whole.”
Matt Jones is ranked by ESPN as the #36 overall prospect in the class of 2013 and he is regarded as the best pure shooter coming out of high school. You can catch him and DeSoto playing at 7:20 pm Friday night in the semi-finals of the HolidayOT. com Holiday Invitational against Hampton, Va. Hampton features NC State’s ESPN #14 overall ranked prospect, Anthony “Cat” Barber.
By Wayne Bumpass
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