The Xavier frontline received some good news on Monday night.
Tyrique Jones, a 6-foot-9 freshman forward, was ruled fully eligible, according to a report from Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
This news is important for a Xavier program looking to knock Villanova off the top spot the ‘Cats have held since the new Big East launched. The Musketeers graduated James Farr, who ranked top-15 in the nation in total rebounding percentage, and saw Jalen Reynolds declare for the NBA Draft despite having a year of eligibility left. Eddie Ekiyor, a redshirt freshman forward, left the program to join Canadian powerhouse, Carleton University, last month, further thinning the Xavier frontline.
Jones will be part of a new-look frontcourt, which will feature Norfolk State transfer RaShid Gaston. The 6-foot-9 Gaston averaged 15.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game during the 2014-15 season before sitting out this past year due to NCAA transfer rules. Sean O’Mara, the 6-foot-10 junior, is another returning post piece, although, he logged only 7.0 minutes per game last season.
Jones will likely remind Xavier fans of Reynolds. For starters, they both attempt to dunk everything. But Jones is also a physical, hard-nosed rebounder; an area that needed to be filled entering this season given the departures from this spring.
Jones, who ran with Expressions Elite in the Nike EYBL, began his high school career at Bloomfield High (Connecticut) before reclassifying to the Class of 2016 when he transferred to Vermont Academy in the fall of 2014. It was there where he was part of a NEPSAC Class AA championship team, playing in a loaded roster headlined by Miami commit Bruce Brown.
Jones committed to Xavier in June of last summer. He was a four-star recruit, according to Rivals. He makes up a two-commit class alongside four-star point guard Quentin Goodin.
Xavier, a consensus top-10 preseason team, will open the 2016-17 season against Lehigh on Nov. 11.