High School Basketball

Columbia-area basketball star, top-5 South Carolina recruit transferring out of state

‘It’s not all about me.’ USC target Dillon Jones talks game, recruitment

Dillon Jones, a 2020 South Carolina basketball recruiting target, provides an update on April 13, 2019.
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Dillon Jones, a 2020 South Carolina basketball recruiting target, provides an update on April 13, 2019.

One of the Midlands top basketball players is headed out of state to finish his high school career.

Keenan star Dillon Jones announced Monday he is headed to Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kansas. Jones is the fifth ranked player in Class of 2020 according to 247 Sports and has offers from South Carolina among other schools, including Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Hofstra, UNC Charlotte and Appalachian State.

“We know how impactful Keenan has been me being a waterboy to starting to play my eighth grade year,” Jones said. “Leaving was not an easy decision. I still bleed blue and gold. It was a hard process. But the game is a business and some decisions you have to make have to be made. I know Keenan is going to continue to be good and should win another state championship this year.”

The 6-foot-6 Jones is very versatile and can play either guard or forward. He averaged 12.3 pts, 7.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists in helping the Raiders to Class 3A championship.

In the title game against Ridgeland-Hardeeville, Jones scored 15 points, had seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. He informed coach Zach Norris last weekend he was leaving the team and wasn’t with his team for final game at SC Basketball Scholastic Camp.

Jones will stay in-state to finish his AAU season with Upward Stars and likely head out to Sunrise sometime in August.

Keenan’s Raekwon Horton was asked last week about the possibility of Jones leaving last week and hopes for the best for his former teammate.

“I wish him the best in whatever decision he decides to make,” Horton said. “I hope we don’t lose Dillon but if we do lose him, we will just move forward as a team.”

Sunrise Christian has alumni which includes current South Carolina forward Maik Kostar and current NBA player Buddy Hield. Sunrise Christian had five players sign with Division I schools last year. N’Faly Dante, one of top players in Class of 2020, plays at Sunrise but might reclassify to Class of 2019.

Jones said playing with Sunrise should help him with is recruitment but wasn’t his only reason for leaving.

“They help you work on transforming your body,” Jones said. “A lot of different schools were coming after me since I was younger. When I finally got the championship ring and other schools started reaching out. Sunrise, you almost couldn’t say no. They came to me and I took it into consideration.”

Jones isn’t the first player from the Columbia to leave and play his senior year of high school out of state. Christian Brown played at AC Flora and Lower Richland before playing at Oak Hill. He signed with Georgia.

Juwan Gary left Gray Collegiate and played his senior season at Liberty Heights. He signed with Alabama.