Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari settled into the fifth row Wednesday night. Syracuse assistant Gerry McNamara sat to his left. Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie was two rows behind him. Louisville's Rick Pitino sat to the right.
College basketball's power players filled the Philadelphia University bleachers for the evening's last game at the Reebok Classic Breakout, which runs through Friday. The two teams on the court each had 10 players, but these men had their eyes fixed on Archbishop Carroll's Derrick Jones.
Jones insisted he did not pay attention to the college coaches in the stands. It was just a normal game, he said.
The 6-foot-7 wing player will be a senior in the fall and is a five-star recruit, according to ESPN. Jones said he is planning August visits to Louisville, Florida, Kentucky, and Indiana. He visited Connecticut last week.
"It's a great honor just to have the coaches here and everything, but it's not going to change my game," Jones said. "I'm going to play my game. My game is what got the coaches here."
Jones said he continues to work on his shot and appears to have developed a solid midrange jumper. He scored 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting, as his team rolled to an 80-67 win. Most of his points came on dunks, as his athleticism is what continues to grab the attention of college programs. He attacked the rim from the perimeter with ease.
"I always had the midrange, I just never used it because everyone said I was a slasher just getting to the lane," Jones said.
He grimaced in the fourth quarter after banging his left shin against an opponent's knee. Jones remained in the game. A minute later, he soared toward the hoop to finish off a two-handed alley-oop. Jones later left the game and iced his leg.
He said the injury was not serious.
Jones said he enjoyed his visit to Connecticut. He met with Ollie and saw the NCAA championship trophy that the Huskies won last season. He said the coaches were "straight up-front with everything," and he hopes his other visits are like that.
On his way home, he stopped at New York City's legendary Dyckman Park. Jones said his coaches were talking about the Manhattan court and "a light came on" in his head. It was somewhere he said he always wanted to play. He said he finished with 30 points.
"It's just a great honor to be able to go there and play," Jones said. "And have everyone look at me scoring. It was me doing me, and everyone was cheering."