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Pitt makes top seven of small forward Deivi Jones

The three-star wing averaged 24 points per game last season in Teays Valley

Turkey v Dominican Republic - Fiba U17 Basketball World Cup 2018 Photo by Javier Escobar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff made progress with a coveted recruit in the 2021 class on Sunday evening, as Teays Valley Christian School small forward Deivi Jones placed Pitt in his top seven.

The six other finalists for Jones include Clemson, Houston, Illinois, Louisville, Maryland and Oregon. The Dominican Republic native’s list was trimmed down from 10 offers, and the programs cut from contention include Cincinnati, St. John’s and Virginia Tech.

Of the seven schools that are still under consideration, Pitt is among the closest to home for Jones, who is currently in Teays Valley, West Virginia. However, with Pitt 247 miles away from Teays Valley, Louisville is slightly closer at 227 miles.

The 6’6”, 195-pound small forward holds three-star ratings from 247Sports and Rivals. The former ranks him as the No. 29 small forward in the 2021 class as well as the No. 2 recruit from West Virginia and the No. 125 recruit overall. The latter places Jones at No. 32 at his position and No. 136 overall in the 2021 class.

During the 2019-20 season, Jones averaged 24 points per game, and that included a stretch between December and February in which he averaged closer to 30 points per game. Given all that, it should come as no surprise that Teays Valley Christian School head coach Travis Tarr notes that it’s Jones’ offensive prowess that has college coaches across the country lining up to sign him.

“On the offensive side of the ball he can just go get a bucket,” Tarr said of Jones last week, according to Evan Daniels of 247Sports. “He’s 6’6”, long and extremely strong. Every college coach that we talk to, they know he can get to the basket, he can finish, and he shoots it extremely well out to 23 or 24 feet. ... The coaches that are recruiting him, everyone is recruiting him because he can shoot it at an elite level and he can really score.”

Jones would be Pitt’s first recruit of the 2021 class if Capel managed to reel him in, and he would fill an important role for the Panthers, who have been lacking reliable shooters in recent years. Last season, Pitt shot 29.6 percent from three-point range, ranking 335th in the country. The Panthers haven’t finished in the top half of Division I teams in three-point shooting since the 2016-17 season and they haven’t been a top-100 three-point shooting team since the 2010-11 season.