By Monday evening, Shaka Smart’s 2019 recruiting haul may no longer be a one-man band.
On Monday morning, coveted Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy center Kai Jones announced that he has set his commitment date and will be choosing between a final three featuring the Texas Longhorns, Baylor Bears, and Florida State Seminoles on Monday night at 7 p.m. Central.
Jones officially visited each of his finalists throughout September, with his trip to Austin taking place over the Sept. 21 weekend.
Originally from the Bahamas, Jones is now at Brewster Academy following a stint at Orlando (Fla.) Prep, where he began to come into his own as a recruit, as Burnt Orange Nation’s Wescott Eberts detailed.
Jones fits the profile of several other recruits during head coach Shaka Smart’s tenure as a raw prospect with significant upside, but his profile is a little bit different. After coming to the United States in the summer of 2017 at 6’8, he’s now 6’10 following a growth spurt of five inches that transformed his potential as a basketball player.
Now he’ll benefit from a postgraduate year at Brewster Academy following a state title run at Orlando Prep. Jones hopes to grow his game in New Hampshire.
“I’m working on all aspects of my game, especially my jump shot and strength. I work on my shooting every day and I’m working towards being a great shooter,” Jones told Prep Hoops in June. “I also what to improve my basketball IQ that comes from watching more film and playing more games considering that I’ve only been playing organized ball for two years.”
Though Jones has now blossomed into a 6’10 center prospect, the Longhorns are recruiting him as a power forward, which would afford Jones the freedom to utilize his quickness to find opportunities until he develops physically in a college strength and conditioning program. The projections favor him going through that process on the Forty Acres, as each of Jones last seven Crystal Ball picks were placed for Texas, including six projections throughout the day on Monday.
If those picks came to fruition, Jones would join four-star Missouri City Elkins shooting guard Donovan Williams as members of Shaka Smart’s 2019 class, which may be complete as on Monday evening. Based on the current roster outlook, aside from any unforeseen attrition or early departures for the NBA Draft, the Longhorns have only one scholarship still available entering Jones’ decision.
However, the staff’s interest throughout the process, keeping in touch with Jones once, if not twice per day, indicates that Texas is entirely comfortable with utilizing what may be its final committable offer on Jones.
At 6’10, 205 pounds, Jones is currently ranked as the No. 53 player nationally, the No. 13 center, and the No. 3 player in New Hampshire, per to the 247Sports Composite rankings.