- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
Last season, Vanderbilt won the Southeastern Conference tournament. It mattered to Louisiana native Damian Jones.
"Coach [Kevin] Stallings has been at Vandy 14 years and he has been successful. I notice that," Jones said.
Jones committed to Vanderbilt on his official visit. His only other visit was to Oklahoma.
"Vanderbilt was always in the lead in my mind. I just needed to visit to make sure," Jones said.
With only two scholarships to hand out for 2013, Jones did not want to take more visits and run the risk of losing out.
"I wanted to get the scholarship before someone else did," Jones said.
That's a smart move when you find what you are looking for. Jones is a mature young man and didn't play with the recruiting process.
On his visit, Jones said the players were great, Nashville was a great city and that the Vanderbilt campus was very nice.
"I loved everything about the visit," he said. "The players were real cool and the city and campus were beautiful."
As a post player, this is the kind of player you get excited about. He contributes to the outcome of a game with his shot-blocking, and his inside scoring has improved.
Those who have studied his game know that his potential for more is clearly there to be developed. He played this spring and summer with the Texas Titans alongside ESPN No. 3 player Julius Randle and Duke commit Matt Jones.
Said Randle: "I'm very happy for Damian on his commitment. I know academics come first for him so Vandy will be a good fit for him. He's come a long way and I know he will be great there. "
Matt Jones had similar sentiments.
"Wow, what a great get for Vanderbilt," Matt Jones said. "A great athlete with a bunch of potential, but most importantly a great student in the class and a great person. I'm happy for him."
Damian Jones is just scratching the surface as his ability to block shots is becoming a growing force against all competition.
When he has a one-on-one opportunity inside, he favors a simple jump hook with his right hand over his left shoulder. He can take a drop-off pass from teamates' pentetrations.
This big man has a long, athletic body with the possibilities to run the floor faster, rebound better and develop a counter move inside.
More than anything to aid in his development will be putting on meaningful muscle. As his lower body and core area get stronger, it will allow him to make and maintain position on the blocks. When his overall strength improves he will be able to battle inside against the powerful SEC competition on a regular basis.
This excellent student wants to study electrical engineering in the classroom and will study the development of former Vanderbilt big man Festus Ezeli on the court.