HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Dezi Jones has captured the attention of local basketball fans with his scoring outbursts.
Are college coaches following suit?
Not as many as you might think. Quincy University coaches have attended several of the Hannibal boys basketball team's games to check out the junior guard. John Wood Community College has shown interest. Other area schools are keeping tab on the Pirates' new single-season scoring record holder. Outside the tri-state area, though, Jones hasn't piqued the attention of too many college coaches.
That is bound to change.
The 5-foot-9 Jones broke Kent Brown's single-season record of 602 points that had stood since 1957 with his first basket Tuesday night in the 60-46 loss to Palmyra at Korf Gym. He has 621 points this season with three regular-season games remaining and the district tournament. Currently averaging 28.2 points per game, Jones should top 700 points by season's end, which will put him within reach of Joe Rothweiler's career scoring record of more than 1,500 points with another season to play.
Jones downplayed the record, choosing to concentrate more on the need to rebound and chase a North Central Missouri Conference championship.
The Pirates are 8-1 in NCMC play with three games remaining -- Friday at Fulton, Saturday at Marshall and next Tuesday at home against Mexico. Fulton also is 8-1 in NCMC play.
"It's really motivating for us," Jones said. "We want to win conference and make it far. This is an upset, so we have to come back hard."
Hannibal coach Marty Hull is confident in that.
"We'll put up a bunch of shots in practice and try to get our rhythm back," said Hull, whose team shot 27.4 percent from the field against Palmyra. "A slump is a slump. You're going to have that. We have some big games ahead."
Every game Jones plays is another chance to catch someone's attention.
His quickness and ability to create his own shot seem to offset his lack of size. His frame and height seem to be the biggest knock against him, but moves like the step-back 3-pointer Jones hit with the clock running down at the end of the third quarter against Palmyra set him apart.
If there are any questions whether a guard of Jones' size can play at the NCAA Division II level, just take a look at C.J. Carr.
The Rock Island product is in his senior season at Missouri Southern and averaging 16.5 points and 6.2 assists for the Lions, who are 16-8 overall and 11-4 in the MIAA. Carr is 5-foot-8, started his career at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and transferred to Missouri Southern. The Lions played in the QU/Subway Holiday Tournament and he earned all-tournament honors, showcasing the ability to see the floor, set up his teammates, create his own shot and score. He also played physical on both ends of the floor.
Jones isn't nearly the physical player Carr is, but he will get there. He has all the other intangibles to make himself a talented point guard at the next level.
So the question remains: Are college coaches watching and willing to take a chance on the best pure scorer to come through Hannibal in a long time?