Sept. 21, 2008
Indiana freshman Verdell Jones III, from Champaign, Ill., sat down with IUHoosiers.com to talk about a wide range of topics from why he chose the number he did to what he is looking forward to this year.
What is your favorite game/shot/moment playing basketball?
"Probably the biggest shot that I'm known for in my city is when I hit and 80-foot shot in eighth grade to win the state championship. It was all over ESPN and they flew me in for Good Morning America and things like that."
What has been the biggest adjustment you have had to make since joining the Indiana basketball program?
"Besides the basketball aspect, with workouts and everything like that, just getting used to everybody knowing you. People know your background, where you came from and stuff like that before you have even gone to class or played in a game, so that's been the biggest difference so far."
If you had to list one person/place/thing that led you to Indiana, who would it be?
"Coach Crean and the great tradition here. Coach has great enthusiasm and he is a player's coach. He just has a great personality and has a great rapport with his players."
Before joining the Indiana basketball program, what was one word that came to mind when some one said Indiana basketball?
"Tradition and winning. Every time you talk about the top five programs in the country you are going to list Indiana every single time."
What are you looking forward to the most going into this year?
"Getting the chance to get to play at the college level. You grow up watching Indiana and the big time progams on ESPN and national TV and for you to be able to put on that jersey and play in the same place where you saw all those great players play, that's what I'm looking forward to."
What do you enjoy doing when you are not playing basketball?
Who has been the biggest influence in your life so far?
"I usually go bowling with my teammates or just hang out and relax. After workouts, it just feels good to relax. We went bowling a lot this summer and had some heated rivalries and battles. I think the biggest rivalry is probably between myself and Nick Williams. We both like to talk trash and go at it so it's a lot of fun."
"My dad, by far. He introduced me to basketball and he pushed me to become who I am today and just never let me quit or give up."
If you were not playing basketball, is there another sport you thing you could play at the collegiate level?
"I don't think so. In high school, our football coach wanted me to play football and our track coach wanted me to run track. I hate running here when we have to so I'm not going to go run for fun. So I think I would just stick to basketball."
Do you have any superstitions before practice or games?
"I just pray before every game so I don't get any injuries and that I am able to play to my full capabilities."
Why did you pick the number you did to wear at Indiana (Jones III wears #12)?
"I've worn 12 since the sixth grade and I've just kept it all the way through. I wanted no. 20 because that was my YMCA number. And then when I got to middle school, I played up on the eighth grade team but the eighth graders had the priority so I had to take what was left and 12 was left."