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November 14, 2012Rivals100 post prospect Damian Jones officially signed his national letter of intent with Vanderbilt on Wednesday, the first day of college basketball's early signing period.
The 6-foot-9, 215-pound athletic center committed to Vanderbilt on September 2nd following an official visit to the school and may be the only signee during the one-week early period of the Commodores.
"We are extremely excited about Damian Jones, a guy that we targeted his junior year and made every effort to pursue and to sign," Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings announced on Wednesday. "We think he has a chance to be a superb college player and he give us an athletic presence around the goal that can be a difference maker. He's a skilled player, but his greatest strength is his athleticism and his ability to block shots and to rebound. We're very excited about him."
Ranked 82nd by Rivals.com and ninth among all centers for the 2013 class, Jones led his Scotlandsville Hornets to the Class 5A state championship in Louisiana earlier this spring and averaged eight points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
Already considered one of the top prospects in the state, Jones went on to dominate at several spring and summer events including the NIKE EYBL and the AAU Super Showcase. The production and level of maturity shown by Jones made him an instant target for many of the nation's top programs.
He brings a very aggressive presence on the inside, utilizing a lunch pale attitude defensively, and a post up game offensively. He also runs the floor very well for a big man, and uses his vertical ability to reach up and rip down rebounds on a high level.
Jones eventually chose the Commodores over other programs including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Stanford. Other programs such as Duke and Kansas were also heavily involved prior to his decision to commit to VU.
"He comes from a great family, and we were very fortunate to get him on his visit due to Hurricane Isaac after his trip was delayed for more than 48 hours," Stallings said on Wednesday. "But, his mother and father made unbelievable efforts for him to get here. They are a terrific family and we're excited to have them."
Jones plans to study engineering at Vanderbilt and he should give the Commodores a major boost inside next year, joining players such as Josh Henderson, Shelby Moats and James Siakam.
The early signing period ends next Wednesday. Vanderbilt, whom currently has no other commits aside from Jones, may elect to add another member to the class either within the next week or during the regular signing period in April.