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Jeff Jones discusses decision to transfer to Rider

Former Virginia guard Jeff Jones had been leaning toward transferring to Rider throughout last week, and he recently finalized his decision, confirming his decision on Monday afternoon. He had built a relationship with the Rider coaching staff, and is confident he can receive an opportunity to showcase his skills.

"The thing about Rider, I think it's going to be a great situation for me all around the border," Jones said. "I feel at U-Va., sometimes I was labeled as a great shooter, a great shooter coming around picks. A spot shooter. But I feel at Rider, I can show my complete game that I always knew I had. I've always had a total, complete game, and at Rider, I can show I have that."

Jones must sit out next season, and will have only one year of eligibility. This did not concern him.

"All it takes is one year to prove yourself as a basketball player on the court," Jones said. "I feel a lot of people [think] that if I sit out one year, it's going to be bad. But you can work on your game, work on your weaknesses. Everybody who knows me knows I work hard, that I'm in the gym all the time. And then I can sharpen my weaknesses, and going into next year, I can be a more complete player."

Jones said he was not provided any assurances on playing time, but it is expected Jones will receive an opportunity with Rider. He's not concerned about going from ACC competition to mid-major competition.

"Basketball is basketball," Jones said, "and division-I is division-I. A lot of those guys that they call mid-major, low-major, things like that, I don't know who's labeling them, because there's some good players. There's some good players in every league. ...Look at Butler. They went all the way to the national championship, took Duke to the last second. So basketball is basketball to me. I showed at U-Va. that when I get the time, I can do a lot of things on the court. I produced when I got the time."

When he announced his transfer last week, Jones did not want to elaborate on his decision until he found a new school. Jones provided background to his decision on Monday, emphasizing it was his choice -- not something implored by his parents -- and it was not the result of animosity toward Tony Bennett.

He had met with the coaching staff following the season about his future, and discussed the meeting with his family thereafter. Jones excelled in the final three games of the season, appeared excited about returning after the final game. After the meeting, though, he felt he can receive an opportunity to consistently play that way elsewhere.

When asked if he would be a starter ad have an opportunity to be a major contributor with the Cavaliers next season, Jones said, "I know just as much as you know."

Jones said Virginia fans should not lump the departures of he, Tristan Spurlock and Sylven Landesberg and be concerned, emphasizing that all three made separate, personal decisions. But as he moves on, he said he'll miss U-Va. fans.

"To all the U-Va. fans and said encouraging words, the support that they gave me, it was really nice," Jones said. "I really appreciated it, and it showed what the U-Va. family is all about. ...It really meant a lot."

By Zach Berman  |  April 20, 2010; 9:16 AM ET
 | Tags: Jeff Jones, Virginia basketball  
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This one is just really puzzling. I know the staff expects big things from the incoming freshmen, but it's not like Jones wouldn't have had a shot to beat them out for playing time. One year away from a UVA degree -- your friends are still there -- and you give that up to sit out a year and go to Rider? I don't get it.

Posted by: MTrogdon | April 21, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree, doesn't make much sense. I would assume that there must be someone close to Jeff advising him to transfer who still thinks he has a chance to play at the next level.

Posted by: 09hoo | April 21, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

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