Jones Reflects On Tobacco Rd Visits

Matt Jones

One of the biggest questions surrounding Duke's season opening exhibition was the status of five star shooting guard Matt Jones' unofficial trip to Durham. Now, back in Texas and with time to reflect under his belt, Jones recaps his trip and updates his recruitment.

In addition to visiting Duke, you also visited UNC. What prompted that second visit?

Matt Jones: Both me and my dad wanted to check it out, so we set it up to go after the Duke visit.

You mentioned that UNC was "high tech". How so?

It's just like everything there is brand new or seems like it's brand new. Everything was really cool with their facilities; like I got to see the gym and workout facilities and where the players hang out, stuff like that.

Take me through your visit to Chapel Hill and the time on campu?

When I first got there, I went into Coach Williams's office and we just talked about a lot of stuff. That was the big part of the visit since I didn't have a lot of time. We talked about my visit to Duke and he asked what my thoughts were about the program and what I thought about the campus and the program. He said that he has a tremendous amount of respect for them as a program.

What's it like for you as a player being recruited by such big rivals in Duke and UNC?

It's for sure really weird. When I talk with each coach, they do at times talk about the other program and the great respect they have for each other and the success of their programs, but it's still really weird to be recruited by both.

Is it hard to separate out the rivalry from how the schools are recruiting you?

I don't really notice or pay attention all that much to the rivalry and I think that's the way I have to do it. I have to look at what each school is saying, the rivalry is what it is, but it doesn't impact my decision.

Let's talk about the Duke visit; What was going through your mind as you were coming on campus?

Well, it was my high school coach and me and we got onto campus around 2:30 on Friday. I was like 'wow when we were going on campus'. I didn't realize how beautiful it was, and I also didn't know how big a forest they had around campus before you even get on. I was real hype when we were coming on campus and the first thing I saw was Cameron Indoor, that was real cool. You see it packed on tv with all the fans and you know they love Coach K and they love their team, it was cool going into that gym knowing how many great teams have played in there.

Did the staff already have a mapped out plan for you in terms of what they were going to show you?

See, we kind of had a plan, but it was more-so a plan to not have a real structured plan, and that was real cool. When I first got there, the team was going through a workout with the coaches and I shook Coach K's hand and then watched their workout.

What were your impressions on the workout?

The first thing is that there was a lot of shooting drills going on and guys were working out really hard. Coach K would point out a lot during the course of the workout and you could tell him and his assistants kept it real with their players. Like he'd tell you what you did wrong and it's your responsibility to fix it with the information that he gives you. The thing with the players that was real cool to see was everyone talks! They are all vocal in practice and I know that I can be vocal part of the time, but if I were to go to Duke, I know that would not fly, I'd have to learn to talk a lot more.

So what came next after the workout?

Well, me and Coach K and the assistants and my high school coach…we went into another room in the facility and we had a nice meal together. We had chicken and steak, it was a really good meal.

How did the conversation with Coach K go?

It was real cool, Coach K just started talking to me about what he likes about me as a person and a player, but then he also offered some constructive criticism in that he mentioned that Seth and Andre would be gone by the time I got to Durham if I came. And he told me that I could become an even better player if I read screens better, could make me a better scorer and that's what they would want me to be at Duke. He just kept it real honest with me, told me what kind of things I could do as a player in the Duke program and the assistants were talking too which was cool. The big thing they shared since they all played for Coach K is what it's like playing for him, the demands he places on you as a part of the team and how he pushes you to get better as a player, it was all really great to hear.

How much time did you have with the players?

Yeah, the players were real cool and they really accepted me. I had a lot of fun hanging out with them. I hung out the most with Alex Murphy, Quinn Cook, Austin Rivers and Marshall Plumlee and Rasheed Sulaimon was with me too for part of the time when his schedule allowed it since he was on his official visit. All the guys were just real cool, I got to see where the freshman live and that was real cool because at Duke, the freshman basketball players, they live in the dorm with other Duke students and that's just real cool, I like that you can get to know other Duke students and the guys were just showing me where they live, it was all really nice.

What were your impressions of the atmosphere at Duke's Midnight Madness?

Hands down it was better than advertised and you don't even know how cool it is until you get to see it in person. People down there, the fans, you can tell that they love Coach K and the players and it was great to see how much the fans really care. I was sitting right behind the Duke bench the whole time, I had Gerald Henderson sitting right there with me and Coach K was right in front of us.

What did Gerald and Coach K talk about with you during the festivities?

With Gerald, he said it was surreal getting to be a part of the Duke program, he said that Coach K did an excellent job preparing him for the NBA, he even told me that he was able to improve a lot defensively while he was at Duke and how that's helped him a lot in the NBA. With Coach K, he would just turn around here and there to me and Rasheed and talked about the guys and what they are thinking about doing with them. Like he mentioned with Alex Murphy with how athletic he is, he's going to be asked to do a lot on the court and how because he's so athletic, he's got the potential to be a really good defender. He also said that the Plumlees would be a lot more involved and how they have gotten a lot better since last year.

Did you have any interaction with the fans?

Yeah, that was crazy to have people coming up to me knowing who I was and asking for my autograph. I remember Rasheed telling me that it was going to be like that, that Duke fans know their program and who they are recruiting, but then when it happens in person, I really liked it, basketball is really important to them and it was nice to see how much they cared about me.

What happened the next day?

The next day was real cool, we went to practice and then I went to the football game with some of the guys, then I had to drive over to UNC to do my visit there. All in all it was a great visit.

Were there any thoughts of offering a commitment while you were on the visit?

Yeah, I mean, it's real hard, there were several times while I was on the visit where I did have thoughts about committing right there, but I knew it's not the right time, wanted to take the time to make sure of what my thoughts are with Duke and Coach K and all that.

So what's the next step for you?

Well, I'm still trying real hard to make it to Kansas this month for a visit, that's going to depend on a couple of things, but I'm not in any hurry, want to make sure I make the right decision for me, so I don't see myself making a final decision anytime soon.

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