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UT Basketball Signee At New Prep School

Class of 2011 Tennessee basketball signee Chris Jones has landed at a new prep school in Charlotte, North Carolina… but it’s not the diploma-in-a-day school he mentioned in an interview two weeks ago.

The point guard from Memphis was dismissed last month from Oak Ridge Military Academy (also in North Carolina) for allegedly having a confrontation with a teacher.  Jones said at the time that he was leaving in order to boost his grades.  He also claimed that he would be enrolling with Brittain Academy which “touts a high school diploma program that allows those who register to graduate in 30 days or less.”

Tennessee officials were surprised by Jones’ comments, put a gag order on him, and presumably helped him land at Evelyn Mack Academy.

Jones is a four-star prospect according to Rivals.com.

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UT Signee Jones Dismissed From High School Or Leaving On His Own?

The case of Tennessee basketball signee Chris Jones is getting a bit murkier as the day rolls on.

Earlier today we told you that Jones — the #10 point guard prospect in America according to Rivals — had been dismissed from Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina.  Now Jones is telling his side of the story and things do not add up.

According to Jones’ coach at Oak Ridge, Stan Kowalewski: “He was dismissed from the school.  I can’t go into it just because of privacy issues. … This was not basketball related whatsoever and he is leaving the school in good academic standing.  We are helping him to transfer to whatever school that he chooses.”

But Jones had this to say to the Greensboro News & Record when asked about his departure: “It was academic. … I talked to the coaches and we decided I should go somewhere I could get better grades.  It’s not because of behavior or basketball-wise.  I need to be able to better understand my work, and I can do that at Brittain Academy.”

According to the News & Record, the website for Brittain Academy “touts a high school diploma program that allows those who register to graduate in 30 days or less.”  It also says, “The program consists of one test, and those who fail can retest at no cost.”  The site also claims that someone passed the program in just seven hours.

Bruce Pearl told The Knoxville News Sentinel that he is aware of the situation but would give no other comment.  Jones said that he’s been “talking to (UT’s coaches) all week.”  “They told me it was a great choice because the way it was looking, it didn’t look good.  But they said I’m making a good choice. … It just dawned on me.  What am I playing basketball for if I’m not going to be cleared?  I had to make a decision.”

Brittain Academy is not on the NCAA’s official list of non-eligible, “diploma mill” high schools.

So was Jones dismissed from Oak Ridge Military Academy or did he choose to leave on his own?  Was he in good academic standing or was he in danger of not being cleared academically for college?

It depends on who you ask.

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