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Holladay • Rylan Jones is a baby-faced assassin. The sophomore at Olympus hardly resembles what a typical highly recruited basketball player looks like physically. Yet the four-star Class of 2019 prospect received an offer from Utah when he was in the eighth grade, before his father Chris accepted the position of Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Utah, prompting the family relocation from Cache Valley to Holladay.
The move was well-publicized for multiple reasons because of both of the Joneses, but specifically for Rylan joining the defending 4A champions. As a freshman at Logan High, he and ex-Bingham and current BYU forward Yoeli Childs were the only two unanimous All-State First Team selections.
Back to that offer in the eighth grade: It was warranted. Rylan is a knock-down shooter from the perimeter and has a natural eye for game. He sees the floor. Multiple times in a blowout win against Highland on Tuesday, Jones located teammates through difficult passing lanes. Then, defensively, his quick hands forced several turnovers and scoring opportunities.
"He's really an all-around complete player," said Olympus coach Matt Barnes. "He really understands the game. He's very unselfish. He's a good leader. He's easy to like and easy to play with."
Olympus, which was ranked No. 4 in the inaugural boys' basketball rankings released last week, started slow this season, including lopsided losses against Copper Hills and Corner Canyon. But as Jones has adapted to the offense, after arriving at the beginning of the school year, the Titans have started to find their rhythm. And with Jones running the offense, they're legitimate title contenders again.
"It's a bigger city, it's a bigger school. Logan was a small town," Jones said when asked what was the hardest part of his move. "Just adjusting to a new team and having to work my way in and fit in together so we could have really good team chemistry."
Added Barnes: "He didn't do anything in the spring and summer, so it was all new to him. He had to earn his teammates' trust and respect. I give my kids a lot of credit. They're very receptive to kids who move in. My kids have always been very inviting and friendly."
The season is still in its infancy. Olympus improved to 6-2 overall with the win against the Rams. For Jones, his high school career is still at the beginning stages, too, and although he's generating massive amounts of attention from collegiate suitors, he's only concerned with the present.
"I haven't thought about it, really," said Jones about what he's looking for at the next level. "I'm just focused on this year. I just want to get better as a player."
And if he continues to develop as he intends, that could be the beginning of something special.
About Rylan Jones
School • Olympus
Class • Sophomore
Position • Guard
Noteworthy • Jones is a four-star recruit for the Class of 2019. As a freshman at Logan, he was one of two players in the state to be named a unanimous All-State First Team selection. He moved to Olympus to join the defending Class 4A champions after his father, Chris, accepted the Director of Basketball Operations position at the University of Utah the same program that offered Rylan a scholarship when he was in eighth grade.