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Bomani Jones Explains How College Basketball Recruiting Put Him On The Map

Before Bomani Jones became a star in national sports media, he was doing sports radio in North Carolina. While he was there in 2009, he got caught in the middle of John Wall and Harrison Barnes being recruited to ultimately go to Kentucky and North Carolina respectively. 

On the latest episode of A Brief History of Triangle Sports with Joe Ovies, Jones talked about what happened over a decade ago and how it gave him his first national platform.

Back in 2009, Jones was hosting Sports Saturday at  850 The Buzz and The Three Hour Lunch Break on 620 The Bull and he found himself in the middle of John Wall’s recruitment. However, he never talked to Wall because he knew the adults were more of the story. 

“The story was all the maneuvering of the grownups, all of whom I believe to this day had John’s best interests at heart. They also had their own best interests at heart at every turn because this was the ticket for everybody,” he told Ovies. “I just remember at the end of it being like, I’ll never do this again. I’m not built for this. I have too much of a heart to be involved with something that involves so many vulnerable people.” 

As Wall was getting closer to signing with Kentucky, Jones’s radio shows were being live-streamed in the Blue Grass State. He was gaining national notoriety and getting caught in the middle of the story.

As the conversation shifted to Barnes, Jones dove into the story of how he found out Barnes turned down Duke to go to UNC and how Duke wasn’t viewed as cool by some of the recruits that eventually chose other programs back then. He called that attitude the product of a bygone era.

“I think the peak of that was 2019. I don’t think anybody can be a cool college basketball program anymore because I don’t think there’s such a thing as cool college basketball anymore. I don’t think these kids have any interest in doing it. They’d rather go do Overtime Elite stuff, which is a terrible idea. They would rather engage in those activities than be a part of a program.”

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