Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 | 9 p.m.
Clark High basketball player Diontae Jones planned on taking official recruiting trips to Wyoming and UC Santa Barbara before his senior year starts in three weeks.
Jones returned Wednesday from Wyoming, talked the visit over with Chargers coach Chad Beeten and made two phone calls. He called coaches at Santa Barbara to cancel his scheduled upcoming visit, then reached out to Wyoming’s staff to verbally commit.
Jones, a 6-foot-6 forward praised for his defense and rebounding, instantly fell in love with the Wyoming program. His parents accompanied him on the trip and felt the same way.
“The trip was awesome. It’s such a beautiful place,” Jones said. “The people there are nice and genuine. I felt the love once I got there.”
Jones averaged 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season for Clark in leading them to the state championship game. He’s credited for being an elite player on the defense end of the court, willing to do the little things such as diving for loose balls or taking a charge to make the team better.
He’ll bring that same mentality to Wyoming, Beeten said.
“They are getting a real good all-round player,” the coach said. “He’s a tough kid who is going to fit into their system. He rebounds; he defends. The people there are going to love the way he plays.”
Verbal commitments are nonbinding and not official until national signing day in November. But don’t expect Jones, who also had recruiting interest from the likes of Loyola Marymount and Colorado State, to back down on his commitment.
Wyoming, he says, is a perfect fit.
“It’s just a real family-orientated town. The people really care about the community,” he said.