HARRISONBURG — James Madison’s home football victory Saturday against St. Francis wasn’t just the home opener for the gridiron Dukes, it was also the first big opportunity for other JMU sports teams to host recruits with the full pageantry of a fall football weekend on display.
For Madison’s men’s basketball team, that meant an official visit from Oak Hill Academy senior Darrick Jones Jr. The 6-foot-4 guard is from the Richmond area but entering is third season at the prep powerhouse in Mouth of Wilson. Last season he averaged about six points per game playing alongside four of the top 65 players in the class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, including current North Carolina guard Cole Anthony.
But Jones, who played pickup games with the Dukes at the Convocation Center on Friday before watching Saturday night’s football game, had multiple games in which he broke out for double figures as Oak Hill played against the nation’s top competition. He’s also become known for his athleticism and high-flying dunks.
According to VerbalCommits.com, Jones holds scholarship offers from Towson, UMBC, Hofstra, Howard, Radford, UMass, Old Dominion and St. Boneventure, in addition to JMU. He was also offered by Virginia Tech before former coach Buzz Williams left for Texas A&M.
The Dukes currently have two open scholarships for the class of 2020 and sources have indicated they’d like to use one on a guard and another on a post player. A handful of big men who held JMU offers have recently committed elsewhere.
CJ Huntley, a 6-9 forward from Davidson Day School in North Carolina who had taken an unofficial visit to JMU as part of a team camp, reportedly committed Tuesday to Appalachian State. Burke Smith, a 6-11 power forward from Trinity Episcopal in Richmond, committed to Boise State on Monday after taking official visits there and Ohio.
Noel Brown, a 6-11 center from Flint Hill School in Northern Virginia, pledged his services to George Washington and Atlanta-area power forward Colin Granger committed to Ohio.
But the Dukes could have the inside track on another Georgia big man, 6-foot-9 Mohomad Diallo, who told the Daily News-Record he plans to take a visit to JMU this fall and has been in contact with the Dukes coaching staff trying to schedule it.
Diallo has also recently been visited at his Southwest Dekalb High School by South Carolina Upstate and Jacksonville.
Other big men with JMU offers include St. Stephen and St. Agnes center Andre Screen, who also has offers from Northeastern, Delaware, Ohio, George Mason and Radford among several others. Paul Smith, a power forward from DeMatha High School in suburban Washington, and Greensboro, N.C.’s Nicholas McMullen also have offers from JMU along with Jared Garcia, a three-star power forward who plays for St. Thomas More School in Connecticut.