Virginia guard commits to Eagles

Andre Jones, a first-team all-state selection from Nansemond River (Va.) High School, announced Tuesday he'll be coming to Winthrop in 2008.

Jones, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, was first-team all-state in Virginia Group AAA, the state's highest classification, and the only junior to make first or second team. He averaged 20.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.4 steals last year for the 25-3 Warriors, who made it to the state quarterfinals.

He averaged 19.3 points as a sophomore and has scored 1,292 career points.

An athletic, quick shooting guard who can put the ball on the floor and score, Jones was first team all-Tidewater and the Southeastern Region District Player of the Year last season.

As a junior, Jones had scholarship offers from Virginia and Virginia Tech, but he didn't want to make an early commitment and the schools backed off.

He was also recruited by George Mason, East Carolina, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Western Kentucky, Hampton, William & Mary and others. He had 12 offers but picked the Eagles after his trip to Rock Hill and an in-home visit from the coaching staff. He canceled visits to East Carolina and William & Mary.

"On my official visit," Jones told the Suffolk (Va.) News-Herald, "the players treated me like they really wanted me to be a part of the team, and the coaches treated me great."

Ed Young, Jones' high school coach, who is 67-14 the past three seasons, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

At one point, Jones, among the top 10 prospects in the state of Virginia, was rated the No. 75 prospect in the country by His stock slipped this past spring, when he suffered a severe ankle sprain and did not play well while competing for the Boo Williams All-Stars, the top AAU team in Virginia and one of the best in the nation, and at some summer camps.

Jones is the third recruit landed by first-year coach Randy Peele, joining 6-1 point guard Reggie Middleton of Augusta, Ga., and 6-7 shooting guard Gideon Gamble of Atlanta. Winthrop won the battle for all three against programs in more high-profile leagues.

Jones cannot sign until the early signing period begins the second Wednesday in November. Peele is not allowed to comment on recruits until they have signed.

n NOTES: The Eagles lost one recruiting battle recently, when 6-8 Steadman Short, an all-state player from Hillcrest High School, picked High Point. ... The addition of Jones gives the Eagles 11 scholarship players for 2008-09, leaving grants available. ... Andy Buechert, the 6-9 junior college transfer, suffered a broken nose during practice over the weekend and will have minor surgery Friday. He caught an inadvertent elbow from a teammate but is not expected to miss any time. ... Freshman point guard Justin Burton, who had knee surgery a couple of weeks ago, could be back next week. ... Mantoris Robinson, who has been nursing a sprained ankle, is back at practice.

2008-09 Winthrop recruits

Player Ht. Pos. School/hometown

Gideon Gamble 6-7 SG Westlake/Atlanta

Andre Jones 6-2 SG Nansemond River/Suffolk, Va.

Reggie Middleton 6-1 PG Glen Hills/Augusta, Ga.