As can be the case when it comes to recruiting, Kentrevious Jones caught the eye of a coach who wasn’t looking for him.
Playing AAU basketball for the Atlanta Xpress, Jones had the chance to compete with some of the top talent in the Southeast. It was during one of those tournaments where Jones, a 6-foot-11, 285-pound senior, was noticed by a head coach from a Big East program.
“The story the coach told me was that he was walking into the gym, recruiting another kid,” Jones said. “He had heard about me, but he never got a chance to see me play. When he saw me play, he said, ‘Oh, that’s the kid I’ve been looking for.’ He watched me play, and I had an excellent game against one of the top players in the country, (five-star Auburn signee) Austin Wiley. He told my coach from Atlanta Xpress that he wanted to recruit me, and he started recruiting me hard.
“Instantly, when he started recruiting me, I felt like family right away,” Jones said. “He kept on coming at me hard. One visit, and I made the announcement.”
They formed a connection that led to a verbal commitment in September. On Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, the Westside center signed with Chris Mack’s Xavier program, a team that has made the NCAA Tournament in 14 of the past 15 seasons.
Jones, a three-star recruit in the 247sports.com ratings, will be expected to fill the big man role inside for the Musketeers, who have the sixth-best recruiting class in the nation, according to that website. He joins a class that includes four-star shooting guard Elias Harden from Sandy Creek, as well as players from Indiana, Maryland and Missouri.
“Big K is massive with a great touch and IQ for the game,” Mack said in a release posted on Xavier’s website. “What excites me with Kent has been his desire to get in the shape he needs to be in for our level. Back home, he’s already lost over 30 pounds, so he’s well on his way.
“Kentrevious can score with his back to the basket and understands the art of sealing and using his body to create space. If you foul him, he makes free throws. He’s a unique kid, and I’m excited to have him here at Xavier.”
Jones, who spent three seasons at Central before transferring to Westside in the summer, averaged 17.3 points and 13.5 rebounds last season in helping to lead the Chargers to the GHSA Region 2-3A title and a quarterfinal playoff appearance.
At Westside, Jones will be part of a veteran mix that includes junior shooting guard Khavon Moore, who averaged 20.7 points and 11 rebounds last season, and point guard Samone Reed, who scored 11.4 points per game.
The Seminoles finished second in Region 2-3A last season, making it to the second round of the playoffs.
“Anytime you add a 6-foot-11, 285-pound kid to your team, you’re doing something good,” Westside head coach Josh Grube said. “We’re very excited to have him over here. He’s been working hard, learning our system. He gets along really well with his teammates. We’re just very excited to have him onboard.”