Ahead of Tuesday night’s Top 25 matchup between Rutgers and Michigan State, 2021 signee and top 150 prospect Jaden Jones announced on Twitter that he is joining the program later this month.
Thank you to my parents and little brother for their sacrifices and continuous support. I have worked hard to graduate early and am excited to announce that I am joining my brothers at Rutgers U beginning January 2021. Jersey I'm Here!! pic.twitter.com/IuE3Zf16xd— Jaden (@JadenJonessss) January 5, 2021
I confirmed he is enrolled for the spring semester and will begin practicing with the team soon. Current freshman Oskar Palmquist joined the program last winter in similar fashion and the plan with Jones is the same to use the semester to adjust to the college level before playing next season.
Jones is a 6’8” wing from Dallas, Texas who had verbally committed to Rutgers in early March and signed officially in November. He is ranked as a 3-star prospect and the no. 124 player in the 2021 class per 247 Sports composite rankings, but Jones also has a 4-star rating per Rivals and ESPN. He averaged 25 points and 6 rebounds during his junior season and was named the MVP of the championship game at the Wootten Top 150 camp last fall, impressing multiple recruiting analysts in attendance.
“We are so excited to welcome Jaden Jones into our Rutgers family,” head coach Steve Pikiell said in November when he signed. “Jaden is a multi-position, versatile player that is a talented scorer who can really shoot the basketball and score at all three levels. He has great work ethic and he continues to improve. He is exceptional young man that comes from a great family and is a great student. He brings the whole package to Piscataway. Jaden is going to have a great career here at Rutgers and I can’t wait to coach him.”
The super athletic wing is a two-way player who has a chance to become a major contributor right away next season. Jones is a polished offensive player that can score at all levels, while also being a strong on the ball defender. His versatility to play and defend multiple positions makes him a natural fit for the roster. He is also just 17 years old, so his body and game are still developing. Having him start the strength and conditioning program now is also a positive for his overall development.
Jones is also a former teammate of current Rutgers freshman Mawot Mag when they both played at Prolific Prep in California previously. I asked Mag about his relationship with Jones at Media Day in November and he said “He is a great teammate. I still talk to him on a daily basis. I’m excited to have him here next season.” Having a former teammate to help him get acclimated and learn the day to day responsibilities will certainly help Jones’ adjustment as well.
Joining the team now will only help with his development in both the short and long term, helping to ready him for the step up to the college game while adjusting to the academic side as well. Expect Jones to be a staple in the APC, as he is known for being a hard worker and his attitude fits perfectly into the gym rat mentality within the program. His early arrival is great news for Rutgers.