The future of the Texas Longhorns front court took another big step forward on Wednesday, as four-star center Kai Jones signed his letter of intent and officially became a Texas Longhorn.
“We’re excited about Kai’s tremendous upside and character,” Smart said of Jones in a statement per the school. “He has an infectious personality and a great work ethic. His trajectory and development on the court since last year has been fun to watch, and we’re extremely excited about what’s ahead of him.”
The 6’10 big man out of Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy became just the second member of the 2019 basketball class a month ago, choosing the Texas Longhorns over the Baylor Bears, Florida State Seminoles and 18 other offers.
As the No. 53 player in the country, Texas’ new big is actually an incredibly versatile player on the offensive end, thanks in-part to his late growth, adding five inches to his stature and moving him up court. He maintained much of his skills from his time as a guard, but now brings those skills with a body that can also play from the wing.
Listed as a center by most recruiting services, Jones will more likely be enlisted to play more in line with a power forward.
His unique mix of size and quickness, added to his history in the backcourt, gives him the ability to add value from any position on the floor, something head coach Shaka Smart has shown an appreciation for in the past. He’s already shown ability as a rebounder and shot blocker, as well as the speed to help push the ball down the court. He’s working to bolster his mid-range jumper, ball-handling, and his ability to help move and direct the offense.
This wasn’t the same Kai Jones you remembered from the last time you saw him play at home. This was something different. #BahamasBasketball #KaiJones #BrewsterHoops #PrepHoops #TexasLonghorns @242_jones @BrewsterHoops pic.twitter.com/YxTIojSSPy— 10th Year Seniors (@10thyrSeniors) November 5, 2018
The Texas front court continues to add both depth and talent, with five-star center Will Baker joins alongside Jones in the class, as well as the four forwards signed in the 2018 class.