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Once a little known prospect, junior Jonathan Jean Laurent has continued to emerge into the national recruiting arena.
The 6-foot-6, 195 pound wing at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla. says he has six offers so far but is receiving interest from colleges across the country.
"Right now I have offers from UCF, Morehead State, Georgia, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and Boston U," Laurent said. "I would say Georgia is recruiting me really hard. UCF, Morehead and Florida are in regular contact but haven't offered yet same with UCLA. USF is recruiting me pretty hard too. Some really good schools are recruiting me, hopefully I'll pick up these offers when spring time comes around."
Despite not indicating any favorites, Laurent did say that the Bulls steady recruiting effort has given him a favorable opinion of South Florida.
"I talk to coach Stan (Heath) sometimes, he texts me a lot we have a pretty good relationship. He likes my athleticism, my size at 6'6 and my motor. They want to come up to Orlando and see if my shooting and ball handling have improved. Hopefully they'll see that it has and I can pick up an offer from them soon. I like those guys (USF) a lot."
When it comes time to make his college choice, location won't be a factor for the Virgin Island Native.
"I want to be an electrical engineer so I'm going to try find a school that has that program and has a basketball program that has a system that best fits me. A school that will help me get as far as possible. The location doesn't really matter."
Thanks to a NCAA recruiting rule change for Division I men's basketball, prospective student-athletes could begin taking official visits this month. Laurent doesn't have any planned but he has taken some unofficial visits to in-state schools.
"I went to UCF a couple of times, Florida for the game against Kansas and FSU once, I was supposed to go to the Florida Gulf Coast midnight event but I wasn't able to go. I want to get over to USF but haven't been able to work it into my schedule."
Before the current school year, Laurent transferred from Orlando's Freedom HS to Dr. Phillips where the head coach is Anthony Long who has been at Dr. Phillips since the 2002-2003 season and entered this season with a head coaching record of 415-145 (74.1%).
"Coach Long is a great guy, I really like Coach Long," said Laurent. "He's strict he wants you to run his plays, but he shows you how to play system basketball. He's really helped with my recruitment, he showing me how to play the wing spot, he's really helping me a lot. He's also showed me that in college it's going to be system basketball."
"We're having a good season, we're a young team. I'm trying to be a leader and show the young ones how it is at the high school level. We've got some D1 freshman on our team. Playing varsity is tough coming right out of middle school because you're not physically developed yet."
Currently Laurent is leading the Panthers in scoring at 19.3 points per game but he's also averaging 9.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game often while playing more than one position during a contest.
"I was having a really good season earlier in the beginning but I hit a slump for a few games and I'm just picking it back up now," Laurent said. "I'm just trying to lead this team as far as possible. We took a tough loss to OCP (Orlando Christian Prep, 21-0 and ranked No. 3 in Florida) but we played them close. Many people would have thought we'd have gotten blown out by 20 or 25 points. But we put up a pretty good fight, we had a chance to win that game. Our defense has not been that good but we're getting better and hopefully when February comes around we'll be ready for the task at hand."
RunningTheBulls.com was at the game against OCP. Dr. Phillips had the ball, down nine points with four minutes remaining and missed an open shot and never got any closer. Laurent had a double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists.
Jonathan Laurent is an athletic wing that almost glides in the lane with long strides and loves to attack the rim. His jump shot needs to become more consistent, but the good news is that he realizes that and is working on it. He doesn't force the issue, preferring to play under control, showing a good basketball IQ. Laurent is a good rebounder and ball handler for his position. He plays with a high motor and sees the floor well.
From our viewings, we think it's just a matter of time before South Florida extends this young man an offer.