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What the Curtis Jones signing means for Indiana

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A commitment from the 4-star guard is just the first domino to fall in what should be a prolific recruiting class at Indiana.

The Indiana basketball team will look much, much different a year from now, and today the program got its first taste of what that will look like.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I am glad to announce that I have verbally committed to play basketball at Indiana University <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IUB?src=hash">#IUB</a> ⚪️ ⚪️ ⚪️</p>&mdash; Curt Jones ⚡️ (@ctj_curt) <a href="https://twitter.com/ctj_curt/status/645225707497459712">September 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Curtis Jones is a fantastic signing through and through. As a 6'4" combo guard, he is a perfect fit for Tom Crean's uptempo, pseudo-positionless offense. While not a pure point guard, the Huntington Prep product is more than adequate handling the ball, but his strength lies in his jump shot, as ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi explains:

"Jones can make shots from mid-range and distance, and his ability to score the ball off the dribble, especially off a high ball screen or running in the conversion game makes him a threat from Day 1. Besides his dependable jumper, Jones has a noticeably quick first step to beat a defender, and thanks to his size and vision can score in the paint and at the rim." (Source)

With Yogi Ferrell and Nick Zeisloft graduating after the year, there will be major minutes to be had. The opportunity is there, and Jones should be expected to compete for playing time immediately.

As mentioned before, Jones attends Huntington Prep in West Virginia, the prestigious basketball factory that consistently produces top talent, with alumni that includes current Hoosier Thomas Bryant. While many people have assumed that Bryant will be a one-and-done player, that may not be the case. Immediately after signing, Bryant had this to say:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thomas Bryant asked about one-and-done possibility, said he plans to be at Indiana for two years. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/iubb?src=hash">#iubb</a></p>&mdash; Mike Miller (@MikeMillerHT) <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeMillerHT/status/586274861439393792">April 9, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Yes, it's typical for players to say that they plan to stay in school for longer than the bare minimum, but what is not typical is to see that same kid out at AAU tournaments actively recruiting players for future years. Just a few weeks after his signing, Thomas Bryant was hanging out at an Adidas AAU tournament in Fishers, which just so happened to include Rawle Alkins, the 5-star guard also from NY.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thomas Bryant was here to watch Rawle Alkins and told him &quot;We can take IU by storm.&quot; <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/iubb?src=hash">#iubb</a></p>&mdash; Mike Miller (@MikeMillerHT) <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeMillerHT/status/592042118039867392">April 25, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Why this matters, though, is to show that not only is it possible that Thomas Bryant's recruiting tactics have been working, but that he is serious about staying at school and playing with his friends. Having Jones, a former teammate that is originally from the east coast and once was considered to be a heavy Georgetown lean, make the plunge for IU, speaks volumes about what suiting up with familiar faces means. And, as we saw just yesterday with Lamar Stevens joining his AAU teammate Tony Carr at Penn State, the idea of packages is a thriving one in today's college basketball landscape.

That brings us to 5-star SF Miles Bridges, a current teammate of Jones at Huntington Prep. Already having cut his list down to 3 schools, the intrigue level for Hoosier fans has now reached overdrive. Remember, Bridges and Jones took their official visit to IU together back in late August. Whatever pitch Jones received, you can be sure Bridges heard just as much.

It's not just Bridges, though. The first domino has fallen, and you can be sure that players will not want to miss out. Jaylen Fisher (4-star PG, #59 overall) recently hosted Tom Crean for an in-home visit as his recruitment has started to heat up. Mario Kegler (4-star F, #32 overall), Bruce Brown (4-star PG, #39 overall), and De'Ron Davis (4-star PF, #38 overall) all plan to take official visits to Bloomington over the next month or two. Elite prospects Thon Maker and Rawle Alkins have IU in their final lists and a commitment from one or both is not at all a ridiculous prospect.

It's an exciting time for Hoosier recruiting, as the possible 7(!) openings for the class of 2016 are a prime opportunity for Indiana to not rebuild, but reload. So, sit back and strap it down, because these next few months promise to be fast and furious.