By Matthew D. JonesAUBURN, Ala.
— It was a long, long wait to get the word out about the prospect that would be joining his hometown team, Auburn.
It took a few months, but when a recruit from Alabama showed up at the Tigers’ campus in early January, it was enough to make a name for himself.
Jordan Jones, a 6-foot-10 forward from Atlanta, was one of seven players that Auburn’s recruiting staff was able to reach this year through its network of high school players.
The other players were former players who were still at school.
Jones is a first-round pick of the Detroit Pistons in the 2017 NBA draft, which is why he got the chance to join the Tigers.
He has been on the recruiting trail since he was a sophomore at Alabama.
The son of a former player from the Birmingham area, Jones is not the first Alabama high schooler to commit to Auburn.
He was the son of former NFL running back Jalen Jones.
Jones’ father is a big, strong man and Jones’ mother is a tall, athletic woman who also played volleyball at Alabama, but Jones was the first high school player to commit with his family.
The 6-6 Jones averaged 10.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a junior, shooting 57 percent from the field and 68 percent from 3-point range.
He is one of only two players in the SEC this season to reach double figures in both categories.
Jones, who was ranked No. 4 in the 247Sports Composite class of 2017, will play for the Tigers in 2018-19.
He will play alongside the likes of fellow high schoolers Deondre Francois and Malik Jefferson, as well as former NBA player and current Auburn star Jahlil Okafor.
Jones will get an opportunity to play in Auburn’s Big House, where the Tigers play their home games.
Jones also had a chance to play against former Auburn star Marcus Mariota.
The two shared the same high school coach from the days of high schools, Steve Fisher.
Fisher, who is now the coach at the University of Arkansas, was a member of Auburn’s 2015 NCAA Tournament team, which ended with a 69-54 loss to Kentucky.
Fisher is now a member on the coaching staff at the UAB Blazers.
He also is a member in the U.S. Olympic team that competed in the 2019 Pan American Games.
Auburn’s recruiting efforts will continue into the 2020-21 season.
The Tigers have two new players this season, sophomore guard and forward Jordan Jones and senior guard Tye Smith.
Jones had an up-and-down year, averaging 5.7 points and 4.7 assists per game.
He shot 47 percent from three-point distance and shot 44 percent from beyond the arc.
He had his best statistical season at Alabama last year, with 15.9 points per game and 10.8 assists per contest.
Smith had a career-best year with 15 points per contest, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in the regular season.
Smith was also a member the 2015 National Invitational, a tournament in which players were invited to play for one year at a time.
Smith won the tournament as a freshman and senior, but the coaches didn’t see eye-to-eye about him getting an invite to the event.
Smith said he is excited to get to Auburn and see his teammates.
He wants to help the Tigers win a championship.
He said the school has a lot of people who can help him.
He doesn’t want to be a burden.
Smith, who attended Birmingham Central High School in Birmingham, has a chance at being a part of the Crimson Tide basketball team for the 2020 season.
He attended the 2016 NCAA Tournament, which Auburn won 67-62.
Smith played in all 48 games, averaging 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest for the Bulldogs.
The 247Sports composite class of 2021 ranks eighth nationally and has a total of 20 players in its top 25.
Jones is the sixth member of the class to commit.