Kansas State head basketball coach Bruce Weber likely never anticipated that the university’s well-regarded engineering program might actually play a pivotal role in landing a high-level power big man. That unlikely scenario might well play itself out over the next several months, as Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s Damien Jones makes his college choice.
Jones is a rare specimen on a college recruiting landscape littered with hothouse flowers more concerned with the quasi-celebrity status afforded them because of their speed, leaping ability, and the ability to shoot a small round basketball through a larger round hoop. His passion lies outside of the game that will provide him a free college education. His college decision will be based not on which coach woos him the most aggressively, but with which school’s electrical engineering department he feels most comfortable.
That is not a misprint. Electrical engineering, one of the more difficult undergraduate majors available, is Jones’ passion. Not just a teenage boy’s flight of fickle fancy, Jones’ interest in electrical engineering has led him to both a summer internship with Exxon Mobil and attendance at a high school far out of his own attendance district, simply based upon the fact that Scotland High School has an electrical engineering program.
It is certainly unusual for a 6’9″ (and growing) 3-star recruit to switch schools for non-basketball reasons, and Jones will not be rushed in his decision-making. Jones has stated that he will make no decision regarding which college he attends until after his senior season of basketball ends. He spoke with GoPowerCat.com’s Rob Cassidy on Monday:
“Vandy, Alabama, Stanford, Florida and Kansas State have offered. Out of those my three favorites are Vandy, Alabama and Florida. I want to visit a lot of the schools recruiting me,” Jones said. “I won’t have time to visit all of them, but I don’t want to rush it.”
Though K-State is not in the lead for Jones, Alvin Brooks III, who is lead recruiter on Jones, has plenty of time to make up ground on Vanderbilt, Alabama and Stanford. If Jones chooses to make K-State one of his campus visits, you can be certain that one of the stops in his visits will be Rathbone Hall, to visit KSU’s respected Electrical Engineering department. As strange as it sounds, that stop would likely be far more interesting to Jones than a visit to the new basketball training facility.