Rutgers fans got a bit of good news this week when rising senior Mookie Jones
trimmed his list down to six schools, and the Scarlet Knights were one of the
schools that made the cut. SOR spoke with Mookie's high school coach, Lou Panzanaro,
about the talented forward and his recruitment.
For the school that eventually winds up with Mookie Jones, they will indeed
have landed one of the nation's most complete players. According to his coach
at Peekskill HS, Lou Panzanaro, Jones is a player that is "blessed with
incredible peripheral vision. He is a great passer. He's an above average rebounder
for a guard, and he's an above average shot-blocker. He's a team player, and
he also has the chance to be the only four time state champion in New York history".
However, Panzanaro, who has also coached Elton Brand and Hilton Armstrong,
had more to say about his 6'6 ½ shooting guard/small forward : "He's
an incredible athlete. He doesn't talk a lot. He doesn't ask for a whole lot.
He has a great work ethic. His strength is that he doesn't think he's that good,
so he has tremendous desire and intensity. His shot has improved tremendously.
He still could use some work on his strength and his ball-handling, but his
upside is amazing".
Panzanaro went on: "He made the varsity as an 8th grader, and he's gotten
so much better since then. He played good defense then, but now he's learned
not to force things. His value goes in so many different directions. He's been
a decoy for us; he's a total team player. His work ethic is just tremendous".
For Rutgers to make the cut, and join a rather prestigious group that includes
Kansas, Michigan, Syracuse, Marquette, and DePaul, the Knights' coaching staff
surely must be doing a great job. Panzanaro was extremely complimentary of Rutgers'
efforts: "They have a wonderful staff. They have been passionate and consistent,
but not overly aggressive".
Panzanaro had especially god things to say about assistant Darren Savino: "Darren
is a quality person. He has been on Mookie longer than anyone else, as RU was
the first school to make a big push. I can't help but to think that should Mookie
choose RU and have Darren in his corner, he will flourish. I would feel very
comfortable sending Mookie to RU with their staff".
So that leads us to ask, how does Mookie feel about potentially going to a
program that hasn't been a big winner of late, and is in a rebuilding phase?
Panzanaro didn't want to speak for Mookie, who he said has not named a favorite,
but he said that, in his opinion, "I think for Mookie, it won't be about
tradition, it will be about relationships".