KNOXVILLE — Tennessee basketball signee Chris Jones won’t be wearing orange this fall.
Jermaine Johnson, the point guard’s coach at Melrose High School in Memphis, told the Times Free Press early Thursday afternoon that Jones will go to Northwest Florida State College upon his graduation next month.
Former UT assistant Steve Forbes was hired as coach at the Niceville, Fla., junior college on April 13. Forbes was part of Bruce Pearl’s staff that was fired in March amid major NCAA recruiting violations.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Jones, who averaged 30 points per game to take MVP honors after leading Melrose to the 2010 Class AAA state title, committed to the Volunteers in January 2010 and signed with UT last fall.
He began his senior year at Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy, but the No. 39 player in the 2011 class according to Rivals.com was dismissed from the school in late January. Jones returned to Melrose in late March following a brief stint at Evelyn Mack Academy in Charlotte, N.C.
After meeting with new Vols coach Cuonzo Martin, Jones chose to stick with UT after considering asking for a release from his national letter of intent. Questions about whether Jones could qualify academically persisted, however, prompting the decision to go the junior college route.
Forbes began recruiting Jones when he was a freshman, Johnson said.
Point guard Wes Washpun (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and wing Josh Richardson (Edmond, Okla.) are UT’s other two signees for the 2011 class.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...