When Wyoming's "Mr. Basketball" of 1993, Cory Jones, was on a recruiting trip to Idaho State, he stopped in at Utah State, a school he'd always liked. It was Larry Eustachy's first season at USU, and he didn't have a scholarship to spare. According to Jones' father, Bernard, Eustachy has said how much he regretted letting Jones go that day.
But USU got a second chance at the 6-foot-8 swingman who likes to shoot from the perimeter and made the most of it. Bernard Jones says his son, a first cousin to current Aggie guard Justin Jones, has made a verbal commitment to sign a letter of intent with USU during November's early signing period.He'll become an Aggie sophomore next fall after completing another quarter at College of Eastern Utah upon return in March from an LDS mission to Argentina.
As a high school senior who led all Wyoming preps at 22 points a game and was a Street and Smith's and McDonald's All-American, Jones was also interested in BYU. The Cougars, however, gave their available scholarship to Robbie Reid. The Y.'s then-assistant, ex-Wyoming star Charles Bradley, directed Cory to CEU. There he averaged 12-14 points with a high of 30 against nationally ranked Dixie before doing his mission. He was a team captain and, says Bernard, improved his confidence playing there.
A number of schools contacted the Jones family about recruiting Cory following the mission. The Ags flew to Argentina to talk to him directly. Bernard Jones says that probably didn't make much difference because he'd been interested in USU for some time.
Of more influence may have been that Justin Jones transferred to USU from Idaho State after his mission and that the Aggies had a guard spot open this season for Justin and will have a position open next season for Cory. The two grew up in Malad, Idaho, playing ball together; they often talked of going to the same school and carrying it to the Final Four. Bernard Jones says Cory likes USU's tourney chances in the future, another reason he chose USU.