Casey Jones told University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coach John Shulman back in October that he would play for the Mocs beginning next fall.
But he did not sign scholarship in the fall signing period which left Shulman a little worried. Back then, Jones said he wanted to wait before making the biggest decision of his life.
His decision is official.
Jones, a 6-foot-7 wing from L.W. Higgins High School in Marrero, La., faxed his scholarship papers to UTC on Wednesday.
"He had a coach that got it in his head that he should wait and see if something better would come up," Higgins coach Marshall Jackson said. "He had quite a few offers, but nothing swayed him from Chattanooga."
Jones averaged 12.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game for the Hurricanes who went 19-7 and finished second in their district. Jones made the All-State second team and declined interest from Tulane, Tulsa and Samford.
"It was always the case, when people asked how he felt, it was always, 'Chattanooga,'" Jackson said. "He wants to be a winner and he felt that UTC was the program that had the best chance to win."
Jones accepted the last scholarship that UTC had to offer considering Eric Robertson is set to file his paperwork later this week. That would finalize UTC's 2012 recruiting class unless somebody transfers out of the program.
"As of 5:30 today, nobody is leaving," Shulman said. "With college basketball the way it is today -- Jeff Goodman put out a report that 300-something guys are transferring -- you have to be ready for it. We have not finished all of our end-of-year meetings."
Jones is the fourth player from Louisiana to sign with the Mocs in recent years joining Kevin Goffney, Troy Cage and Jahmal Burroughs.
"What separates him is that he has high-major athleticism," Shulman said. "He's a runner and a jumper. He thinks that he's Kobe [Bryant], which is great."
Jackson said that Jones fits the profile of a UTC recruit in terms of athleticism, basketball skills and basketball knowledge in addition to being a good student and community citizen.
"He's a kid that loves to get up and down the floor and he'll be good in an offense that lets him be active," Jackson said. "He played inside and out for us.
"I know he's going up to Chattanooga to work."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...
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