Q & A: Verdell Jones talks pro career, reflects on time at IU

  • 06/06/2012 3:55 pm in

The highly touted 2012 recruiting class is expected to arrive in Bloomington to join a program many have projected to be the nation’s best next winter. The five 2012 signees will replace an outgoing group who came to IU at its bottom in the summer of 2008 and helped lead the Hoosiers all the way back to the Sweet 16 in March.

One of the key members of that group was Verdell Jones, a four-year starter who saw his senior season end abruptly in the Big Ten Tournament with an ACL tear in a win over Penn State.

Inside the Hall caught up with the Champaign, Illinois native on Wednesday for an update on his rehab, his plans to pursue a professional career and much more:

On what he’s been doing since graduation last month and how things are progressing with rehab:

“I hired an agent. Jared Hodges from WSMG. I was cleared last week to do more on the court stuff. I can do some light cutting now, I can do a lot more basketball stuff, a lot more shooting stuff, ball handling up and down. Nothing too vigorous. I can stairmaster, I can do elliptical, stuff like that. I’ve been cleared to do weight lifts, so now I’m just doing that almost every day. I’m doing a lot of basketball work with my dad almost every day. I haven’t felt pain in a while. The doctor said last week I was a couple weeks ahead of schedule, which is good. I’m going to keep working.”

On when he expects to be 100 percent and on his plans to pursue a professional career:

“The doctor said that I would probably be almost 100 percent by late September. As far as working out for teams, working out for overseas or NBA teams, I can probably start doing that in August. I missed a lot of the training camps and different camps that the NBA teams and overseas teams watch, but I hired a great agent and a lot of teams are waiting to see what happens with my knee. Every kid’s goal is to play in the NBA, but I have no problem playing overseas.”

On leaving Bloomington and getting back home and getting a chance to work out with his father and brother:

“It’s mixed feelings. I definitely miss the guys at IU. I loved working out with them. But it feels really good to be back with my dad. I feel like he was the guy who made me the high school player I was and allowed me the opportunity to go to IU. It feels real good. My dad, he knows a lot of my strengths and weaknesses. We’ve been trying to work on my outside shot, watching games. And my brother (Clayton), he’s trying to pursue his dreams, too.”

On his time at Indiana and what he and his teammates were able to accomplish in bringing the program back:

“Looking back on it, it was definitely a great experience. It was definitely a great learning experience. Going through those first three years, the hard times, actually really helped build me as a person and as a player. (It taught me) to play through adversity and helped make me mentally stronger. I was very happy to finally experience some success. It showed that hard work does pay off no matter what.

“I think IU is going in the right direction. This team this year will probably be one of the best teams IU has had in a long time with the incoming class and everyone staying from last year’s team. I’m very excited, I think they can do things. I’m looking forward to them hanging up (banner) number six.”

On how the work they did as a team last offseason translated into success:

“I think it helped a lot. We did some different stuff, but I think the biggest thing was that we did a lot of the stuff on our own. We initiated a lot of it. We held each other more accountable. I think that just came with us being an older team and more mature. That’s what took us longer into games. When it was clutch time, we just stepped up and held each other accountable. We were so afraid to let our teammates down that we stepped up, too. I think that’s something that was huge last year. I think that a lot of our team is still older this year, so that accountability will still be there this year.”

On how closely he’ll continue to follow the program:

“I love those guys. They’re still my brothers and we still text every other day. I’ll definitely keep in close contact and definitely watch a lot of the games when I can. It just depends on what happens to me with basketball. If I’m fortunate enough to stay here (in the United States) and play, I’ll try to make some games. But if I do go overseas, they have Internet over there, too. So I’ll definitely be watching them over there. Those are my guys and I’m hoping the best for them.”

Filed to:

  • Robert Sales

    Good luck Verdell ! You are missed and a lot of people know how valuable you were. Thanks for being a leader and great Hoosier.

    Your brother? Future Hoosier?

  • inLinE6

    I wish you the best of luck, VJ3!

  • inLinE6

    I wish you the best of luck, VJ3!

  • Luke72

    Class act!

  • Devout Hoosier

    Glad to hear the recovery is going well.  Good Luck!!!

  • INexpat2001

    It is so great to get this insight on VJ’s current plans and outlook.  Reading this piece just reminded me that the 2011-12 team will always remembered as truly special due to the unique obstacles it overcame and the circumstances surrounding its achievements. 

  • ldiu

    Great kid and stuck with us thru all the tough times.  Such a shame he could not play in the NCAA tournament.

  • IUfanToby

    Can’t help but love this kid

  • Arch_Puddington

    He is a hard worker and a gentleman. He will be a successful person.

  • marcusgresham

    Verdell only weighs about 185, but 80 of it’s guts and another 80 of it is class.

  • Quiet IU fan

    You are still my favorite IU player — of all time.  I wish you all the best.  You stayed the course and this characteristic — or “grit” as it is now called — will hold you in good stead wherever you go in life.

  • IU_Fan_99

    Good luck Verdell!! Cheers and positive thoughts on a full recovery and successful career….

  • iufan4life10

    Best of luck and keep representing yourself and the university well.  I think when successful people look back at their careers it is the time of most adversity they credit to making them successful.  VJIII had plenty of adversity his first three years and made himself better, this injury is just another bump in the road.  

  • He has my favorite assist in basketball history. I was only two when Keith Smart hit that shot so I cant count that. But thanks for everything Verdell and thanks for keeping your head up and being a positive influence during an NCAA tournament that you really deserved to play in.

  • That doesn’t add up very well but I like the point.

  • That doesn’t add up very well but I like the point.

  • marcusgresham

    Well, he’s got a brain, too!