Aberdeen guard Stephanie Jones commits to join sister Brionna at Maryland

  • Stephanie Jones averaged 20.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.8 steals last season as a sophomore for Aberdeen.
Stephanie Jones averaged 20.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.8… (Brian Krista, Patuxent…)
September 24, 2014|Katherine Dunn | The Baltimore Sun

Aberdeen junior Stephanie Jones already had a connection to Maryland’s women’s basketball team when she started to get serious about the recruiting process.

She knew how much her sister, Brionna, loved her experience last winter as a Terps freshman, but Stephanie did her homework before deciding she wanted to be a Terp, too.

She cut a long list of top-notch schools to Maryland, Duke, Louisville and Notre Dame, and Wednesday, the versatile 6-foot-2 forward-guard made a verbal commitment to Maryland coach Brenda Frese, who had first seen her play as a fifth grader.

“I really love the coaching staff, because they’ve always been excited about me and my game, and they really put themselves out there to recruit me,” Jones said. “I like the style of play, Maryland has good academics and it’s a Top 10 program, so through my four years, I have a chance to go to the final four. I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know the current players and the ones who have committed in my class and above me and I feel this is the best fit for me.”

Although Brionna, the All-Metro Player of the Year as an Aberdeen junior, talked to Stephanie about the Terps, Stephanie said her sister wanted her to make up her own mind. What she saw in Brionna’s emergence as a 6-3 freshman center, who started 13 games for a team that reached the final four, made a significant impression.

“Hearing what she went through last year and her telling me how much she has loved it and seeing her transformation, how she’s developed, made me think about how they could develop me and how good we could be when I get there,” Jones said

A two-time All-Metro first-team selection, Stephanie was one of the most highly-recruited juniors in the country.

Her combination of athleticism and versatility made her a four-star recruit and the No. 18 player in the country in ESNPW’s HoopGurlz Super 60 Class of 2016 rankings. She was recruited as a shooting guard-small forward, but can handle the ball, hit the 3-pointer or post up.

She helped the Eagles to the Class 3A state championship as a freshman and to the to the regional final last season, in which she had 34 points and 15 rebounds in a loss to eventual state champion Milford Mill. Jones averaged 21 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.8 steals last season and has already scored 971 career points.

Stephanie and Brionna played together when they were younger, but only had about six weeks together at Aberdeen during Stephanie’s freshman year. Brionna, a senior, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in early January and missed the rest of the season. Now, they’ll get a second chance.

“I feel like it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to play with her at that higher level,” Stephanie said. “I’m really excited about being able to play with her for that one year.”

For the Jones family, having Stephanie at Maryland will make life much easier. They will have just one college basketball team to follow. Brother Jarred, a 6-7 junior guard at Loyola Maryland, will have graduated by then and Jordan, who will be a 6-5 freshman forward at Aberdeen this year, will still be in high school.

“We let her make up her own mind and she had a lot of schools interested from Stanford to Duke to Notre Dame. She could go anywhere she wanted,” Mike Jones, an assistant coach for the Aberdeen girls the past two years, said. “As a parent, if this is what she wanted, we’re okay with it. Being an hour away makes it even better.”

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

twitter.com/kdunnsun

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